Small Business Saturday - for Books!

Shopping cart full of booksLots of deals on tv shows and DVDs, but first, it's Small Business Saturday, which is a terrific opportunity to go find the small shops in your area and spend some fine, fine currency on gifts.

I don't often link to local shops because I know you're all over the world (Hi, The Internet!!), but local shops in the towns we live in support local schools, teams, groups and the community as a whole. I shop online constantly, but I also shop in my town, because if I don't, I won't have many stores to choose from in the future. We also trick-or-treat in our town, especially last year and the year before when natural disasters and freak snowstorms cancelled Halloween. Their lights were on, so we all went trick-or-treating at our shoe store, the bake shop, the hardware store, and the fire station. 

Awhile back, we collaborative built a map of romance-friendly bookshops around the world. Not all independent bookshop owners and employees are friendly to romance readers, alas, but many bookshops are. I don't want to send anyone to a bookstore where the people working there are condescending or rude to romance readers (and oh, mercy, so many of us have stories like that, which…yuck.) So, please have a look at our map of stores, and if you can't find your favorite bookshop, please add it. You can find instructions here. And if you see one that's wrong or mislabeled, please email me and let me know.

Our local bookshop, Watchung Books, has a wonderful fundrasier for our school each fall wherein a portion of the total profits for the night are donated to the PTA. I buy all the gifts for the assorted children in our family at the bookshop, especially because they have a fantastic children's section. Plus they have little gift items as well. 

I also know that the new Astoria Bookshop in Queens, as well as WORD Brooklyn, are both welcoming to romance readers, and want your suggestions of what romances to stock in the store. And, in addition to romance, if you're still looking for presents for all the kids in your family, a book makes a lovely gift. 

What's your favorite local bookstore – and if you don't have one, what local shop do you love best? 


General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    LML says:

    I know of someone who is selling books for children from their home.  Following the day and time data is the line: A book is forever, not just for Christmas.  I thought that was a great reminder.

  2. 2
    Heather S says:

    Nine Lives Books in San Antonio, Texas, is a great romance-reader-friendly book store – and they’re an independent, managing to survive despite the presence of FIVE stores owned by second-hand-and-remainder behemoth, Half Price Books. NLB invariably has a good selection of romances on clearance for $1 or less, well-stocked shelves, and they will be celebrating 10 years in business next year! They also have a sci-fi/fantasy room they call “The Dungeon”, full of super cheap sci-fi, fantasy, and horror novels. Their literature and non-fiction sections are also substantial. I just love that book store – and since they’re open 10 am to 10 pm every day (except Thanksgiving and Christmas), you can always go out to dinner and then browse for books afterward. What could be better than that? :)

  3. 3
    elisa says:

    I’d like to add a bookstore to that map (which I didn’t know existed! Going to have to check out Covina Bookshop!), and I tried to follow the directions but I couldn’t get it to work for me.  So – please add for me Sarah?  I’m actually heading over right now to get my shop on!

    Book Rack Arcadia, 204 S. First Avenue
    Arcadia, CA 91006
    They have a large romance section, which is divided into category romances (including old-school Signet Regencies! Never seen another bookstore that had those) and stand-alone romances.  You can also bring in books to trade and they will keep an account for you.  And they have sci-fi/ fantasy, mystery, literary, etc as well as book rentals (new hardbacks).  Most books are half price and used, a few new books but not many.  Love spending time here!

  4. 4
    Vicki says:

    We had a book store in town that I liked and followed through two owners. I became friends with their clerk. I ordered books through them. The third owner, however, fired the clerk and was not as friendly. The shop subsequently failed. Now my nearest book store is the Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino. I like them and they have a very nice selection. I just don’t get there very often. I miss my local book store.

  5. 5
    elisa says:

    Also would like to add Half Off Books in Whittier, CA, 6708 Greenleaf Avenue, Whittier, California 90601.  Less substantial romance section than Book Rack Arcadia, but still a decent selection of romances.  It’s a larger bookstore overall, with a huge comics/ music/ movies selection, literary books, mysteries, scifi/fantasy, large children’s section (YA as well as younger kids), etc etc.  They also hold readings and other store events.  And they’re open late, in the heart of uptown Whittier.  Check it out!

  6. 6
    laj says:

    Thanks for the reminder!

    The independent bookstore is long gone in my area. There are some in the South Bay…!  Book Again is an excellent UBS in Torrance, great romance selection.

    My favorite small business is a shop called Artful in Santa Monica. The place has a pet bulldog named Alice who is in the shop M-F. I find the best earrings there and every year I by a new pair during the holidays.

    I also love my local grocery….Bob’s Market….it is a well stocked grocery and they have a butcher too! On the weekends they fire up the grill and cook in the parking lot. Ymm.

    Also Soaptopia in Mar Vista…the best soap and the craziest soap names ever….I love Aloe Be Thy Name.

    I’m going shoppin’!

  7. 7
    BRNZ says:

    Please also add Scorpio books in CHCH – they have a huge range of SciFi Fantasy including lots of the Urban Paranormal and UPR

  8. 8
    BRNZ says:

    Sorry I should have said Christchurch NEW ZEALAND!!

  9. 9
    kkw says:

    I have two recommendations that might not be for appropriate. Bookstore recommendations.

    In Yangon, Myanmar there is a huge old market, Bogyoke, and there when I was there in June (don’t visit Myanmar in June) I saw a vast used book section. Books piled on books, stacked as far as the eye could see. A bunch of different languages, but English was very well represented. There were impressive quantities of very old romance novels, and the people were lovely, although it was recently enough that one could disappear in the penal system for talking to foreigners, and probably also for reading or selling foreign books, so I didn’t get any photographs.

    In Venice I saw a used bookstore (Libreria Aqua Alta) where everything seemed to be a bit water damaged, but it’s a cavernous, labyrinthine place where the books were stored in boats and bathtubs, and friendly cats wander freely. There is a staircase built of books. There was a romance section, not huge or up to date (nothing there is up to date) but with such fantastic covers I was tempted to buy them even though my Italian is limited to “good day,” “thank you,” “a pleasure” and “what the cabbage are you saying, Willis.” And ciao, if that counts since it’s been appropriated into Internationalese. I did get photos, but I’m a crap photographer, plus I have no idea how I could share them. Sorry.

    As for its exact location, all the streets and canals in Venice have a party at night, and rarely make it home to the place they started, and GPS doesn’t exactly work there, so you find it at the place you were expecting something else about an hour after you’ve given up. The Internet will give you an exact address, but what does the Internet know?

    Neither could be said to specialize in romance, but they’re lovely welcoming places, plus they’re both fairly romantic spots in and of themselves, and the map is a little starved for those locations. I can’t imagine anyone visiting and being disappointed.

  10. 10
    Rachel says:

    I just wanted to say that I’m happy Melbourne, Aus was represented.  I did a study abroad there about 10 years ago and discovered Rendezvous.  I discovered it as a little hole in the wall store and got to see it move to brighter digs.  What an amazing space! (assuming it’s still there).  I loved that store.

  11. 11
    PamG says:

    We have two local used book stores here in SE CT where I am much addicted to browsing:

    Book Trader in Groton, CT is a small shop with a generous selection of romance as well as most other genres, general fiction, children’s and YA fiction and a limited amount of non-fiction.  The shop is very well organized and the proprietor is knowledgeable and very friendly.  Not only does she know her stock, but she and her staff also know their customers very well.

    Book Barn in Niantic, CT has three locations within perhaps 2 miles of each other.  The two storefront locations house SF, fantasy, horror and certain categories of non-fiction at the Downtown branch, and mystery, romance, some general fiction and a large children’s section at Midtown.  However, the original Main Barn on W. Main St. is the jewel in the crown.  In addition to the barn itself (3 floors of non-fiction, collector’s eds., YA and kid’s fiction) the rest of the merchandise is spread through various sheds, shacks, racks, cupboards, carts, and outbuilding scattered over half-wild, wholly delightful grounds.  There is a large selection of romance at this location as well as at the Midtown store. 

    In addition to friendly knowledgeable staff, there are a variety of furry, finned, horned, and shelled residents.  There are play structures, various kid-powered vehicles and amusing seasonal displays.  While all this sprawling charm does detract from an orderly shopping experience, Book Barn is all about serendipity and the delight of discovery balances the frustrations of vast, somewhat disorganized sections devoted to new arrivals.  Book Barn is a destination for bibliovores of all ages.

  12. 12
    Karin says:

    I found this one while traveling- Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane Washington. The main store is downtown and there’s a couple of satellite stores, one in the airport. The romance section is good, but the sci/fi, fantasy, graphic book sections are great. I got an autographed copy of a Lois McMasters Bujold book, at the cover price. Very friendly staff.

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