I recently returned from my cross-country indie bookstore tour. In case you missed my Facebook posts about the trip—and so I can remember everything myself!—I’ve created this wrapup.
The tour coincided with the release of Tiny Shoes Dancing and Other Stories, but it wasn’t exactly a book launch tour. Because a small indie publisher is not going to send its authors across the country, let alone entice bookstores in other cities to host its authors, I decided to take a different approach.
I sought out independent bookstores along the route, dropped in, introduced myself, and learned more about the store’s focus and specialty. I planned my visits using an interactive indie bookstore map from Indies First.
I found an incredible diversity of stores, from tiny to gargantuan, selling new books, used books, and bargain books.
And I discovered
People still read! Almost everywhere I went, patrons browsed and purchased. The bookstore websites boasted calendars crammed with events, from author readings to book group gatherings to poetry slams.
Books and drink go together. Bookstore/café combos are pretty common. I also discovered several bookstore/bar combos. Combining cafés or bars with books seems brilliant.
Reading series are thriving. I first became aware of the idea of a reading series when I started attending Why There Are Words, which originated in Sausalito and is now at locales across the country. (My cross-country tour included readings at several WTAW locations and I’ll be reading at another Bay Area series in October, Story is the Thing.) BookBar Denver hosts At the Inkwell and Spotty Dog and Ale in Hudson, NY hosts the Volume reading series.
Now that I’m back in the San Francisco bay area, I plan to continue the tour, highlighting some of the local indie stores where bookselling and book culture thrive. You can hear more about that as it unfolds by following my author page on Facebook.
For me, this was a journey of discovery and connection. I hope a bit of that comes across here for you.
Above are staff pick shelves from several of the stores. Below are links to each of the seventeen stores I visited. I’ve also included links, when available, to the authors I met along the way.
Bookstores I visited
The Printed Garden – Sandy, UT
The Bookworm of Edwards – Edwards, CO
Boulder Bookstore – Boulder, CO
Trident Booksellers and Café – Boulder, CO
Tattered Cover Bookstore – Denver, CO
BookBar – Denver, CO
The Raven Bookstore – Lawrence, KS
Left Bank Books – St. Louis, MO
Indy Reads Books – Indianapolis, IN
Gramercy Books – Bexley, OH
White Whale Bookstore – Pittsburgh, PA
Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza – Albany, NY
Spotty Dog Books and Ale – Hudson, NY
Rodgers Book Barn – Hillsdale, NY
Oblong books – Millerton, NY
The Bookstore – Lenox, MA
[Words] Bookstore – Maplewood, NJ
Authors I met
At BookBar Denver (At the Inkwell Reading Series)
At WTAW Pittsburgh (Why There Are Words Reading Series)
At Spotty Dog Books and Ale (Volume Reading Series)
At WTAW NYC (Why There Are Words Reading Series)
Reminder: Tiny Shoes Dancing is available in indie bookstores