Bookstore Explorer is a celebration of the independent bookstore.

While the brick and mortar bookshop suffered in the early years of the internet boom, when online sales and electronic readers shifted consumer attention away from paper, a quiet resurgence has emerged over the past decade. Bookstores went from being simply a place to pick up the latest new release – or dig for the elusive buried treasure – to becoming the heartbeat of community. By focusing on becoming an integral part of town life, independent bookstores are suddenly alive with spirit. From coffee to wine, artwork to music, birthday parties to book clubs and children’s story hours, bookstores are helping to reenergize towns all over the nation and the world.

This website will showcase indie stores through images and firsthand accounts with owners, employees, customers, and townspeople, capturing the unique stories of these story repositories, told through a feature-style profile of each store, from large to small.

In addition to enlightening store profiles, writers, readers, booksellers, and book lovers are invited to share what the independent bookstore means to you and to community in special “BiblioFiles” blog contributions. A diverse group of contributors is already lined up to help illustrate how the independent bookstore can truly shape us, not only as readers or writers but as human beings. If you are interested in being a contributor, contact me.

Bookstore Explorer is managed by Charleston, West Virginia, based writer Matt Browning. While the scope and reach of the project is unlimited, you may notice several Appalachian bookstores and contributors popping up as the website grows.