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Tag: Indie Bookstores

WordPlay – Wardensville, West Virginia

WordPlay – Wardensville, West Virginia

Opening a business of any kind, let alone an independent bookstore, during a worldwide pandemic is no easy feat, but for Tom and Marlene England, it is a venture proving successful. In September, the couple, who already operate a bookstore and toy store in Frederick, Maryland, opened WordPlay, an “independent bookstore with an extra helping of fun,” in Wardensville, West Virginia. “The idea has been percolating in our brains for about four years,” said Marlene, a West Virginia native. The…

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Riverrun Books – Greensboro, Pennsylvania

Riverrun Books – Greensboro, Pennsylvania

Tucked away on a quiet side street in Greensboro, Pennsylvania, is Riverrun Books, a gem of a used bookshop that has served its community for decades. I happened to be coming to the shop from a direction that led me, at times, along rather winding, narrow stretches of two-lane, small-town highway. “There’s a bookstore along this road?” my traveling companion asked aloud more than once.  Yes, there is, and it’s fantastic. I’ve noted several times throughout the blog that my…

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The BiblioFiles: Gordon Simmons, Former Bookseller

The BiblioFiles: Gordon Simmons, Former Bookseller

In this excerpted essay from Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia, former bookseller Gordon Simmons recounts his years in the indie book trade at such Charleston, West Virginia landmarks as the former Major’s Bookstore and Trans Allegheny Books. Bookshop Memories, or Keeping the Aspidistra Flying It was probably around 1979, while working split shifts as a directory assistant operator at the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company on Lee Street in Charleston, West Virginia, that I first became a nearly daily regular in…

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Cathedral Café – Fayetteville, West Virginia

Cathedral Café – Fayetteville, West Virginia

Nestled in the New River Gorge region of southern West Virginia, the small town of Fayetteville draws tourists from all over the world looking to experience the outdoor adventure offerings boasted by the area, from rock climbing to hiking to whitewater rafting and more. And amid the downtown district’s eclectic array of boutiques, shops, and restaurants is the popular Cathedral Café, an eatery, juice bar, bookseller, and all-around community hub. Locals and tourists alike frequent the café, which offers an…

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Robie Books – Berea, Kentucky

Robie Books – Berea, Kentucky

Tucked into the small college town of Berea, Kentucky, is a jewel of an independent bookstore called Robie Books, a lovely shop selling new and used titles for nearly twenty years.  The shop opened its doors in 2002 as Robie and Robie: Fine Books. Owners Harry and Laura Robie opened the shop because of a love of both books and their Berea community, which at the time lacked an indie bookshop. Having retired from his job at nearby Berea College, Harry…

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Glover’s Bookery – Lexington, Kentucky

Glover’s Bookery – Lexington, Kentucky

For more than forty years, Glover’s Bookery has been providing Lexington, Kentucky’s book lovers with rare and vintage volumes. With over 80,000 titles spread across two levels, the shop has an expansive and impressive inventory spanning the genres, including specializations in such subject matter as horses, military history, and Kentucky culture. The shop, owned by John Glover, has been buying and selling antiquarian books since 1978. A great deal of the inventory at Glover’s is hardback, and there are plenty…

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Unique Books – Lexington, Kentucky

Unique Books – Lexington, Kentucky

Located in Lexington, Kentucky’s Woodland Triangle, just around the corner from Black Swan Books for you bookstore crawlers, is Unique Books, which features a large collection of used titles, as well as plenty of regional works. The shop was opened in the early 2000s by Kathy and Tom Rather. As its namesake implies, the origin of Unique Books is itself rather unique. “It all started because I was irritated with my kids,” Kathy told Smiley Pete Publishing in 2012. “They were voracious…

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Wild Fig Books and Coffee – Lexington, Kentucky

Wild Fig Books and Coffee – Lexington, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky’s Wild Fig Books and Coffee is a worker-owned co-op, radical bookstore, coffee shop, and community event space located in the North Limestone area. Originally opened in another location in 2015 by writer Crystal Wilkinson and her partner, Ronald Davis, the shop was (and remains) Kentucky’s only black-owned bookstore. It moved to its current location later that same year, and now operates in a renovated turn-of-the-century house. In its initial phases, much of the shop’s inventory came from the…

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Chaparral Books – Portland, Oregon

Chaparral Books – Portland, Oregon

I stood outside of an obviously closed Chaparral Books in Portland, Oregon, anxiously hoping to hear the turn of an internal lock and the swing of an opening door. They’re probably just running a little late this morning, I thought as I glanced at my watch, which put the time at ten minutes past the scheduled start-of-business hour.  I hovered around the exterior of the shop, grabbed a drink at a neighboring convenience store, and was patiently waiting when I happened to…

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Rose City Book Pub – Portland, Oregon

Rose City Book Pub – Portland, Oregon

Rose City Book Pub in Portland, Oregon, sold me on its name alone. Combining two of my favorite indulgences – books and a nice cocktail – this neighborhood spot is a cozy, quiet reprieve from the hustle and bustle of downtown.  Located in what was formerly an Irish pub, owner Elise Schumock opened Rose City Book Pub in 2018 with the intention of keeping much of the décor the same, giving the book pub a quaint, lived-in feel with old…

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