Use it or lose it

This post was written by Friday blogger Annie Reid.

Thanks for everyone who wrote in when I sent out my call for appreciations of your favorite local indie bookstores a few weeks back.

On a sadly related note, two more independent bookstores in my old hometown of Seattle have closed. As Nicole Brodeur says here at the end of her column on independent bookstores: use it or lose it.

Here’s a few reader appreciations. If you’re inspired, send a paragraph about your favorite local indie bookstore to annie at maud newton dot com. More next week!

Judy Krueger writes in with three bookstores in the Los Angeles area:

Once Upon A Time, Montrose, CA. Used to be a children’s bookstore, now called a ‘family’ bookstore. They always have the latest releases, lots of trade paperbacks, a big mystery section with an employee who has read almost all of them. The children’s section is about half the store (great for me because I have 3 grandchildren) and there are all kinds of stuffed animals, a playhouse, dragons hanging from the ceiling. She also has loads of reading accessories and artsy objects, which is not really my thing but makes the place aesthetic and a treat to browse through.

Portrait of a Bookstore, Toluca Lake, CA. Stuffed in back of a coffeehouse, but quite upscale with a wrap around outdoor seating area that even has a smoking section (I am a smoker, which is pretty much like being a leper in LA). Wonderful selection of books for the limited space, lots of books on writing, Donna is the bookseller and always has time to talk even when she is selling a book to someone else.

The Bestseller Bookshop, Burbank, CA. This is actually a used paperback store which is just crammed with books from floor to ceiling. He always has boxes of unpacked books which he has just bought, spilling out of the boxes all around the counter. You have to lean over all this to give him your money. You can barely walk in there. He has a very huge sci fi and fantasy section plus a literture section where I can always find some classic I want to read in paperback for about $2.00

A reader from Virginia, Thomas, writes in to appreciate a bookstore in Norfolk:

Our favorite local bookstore in Norfolk, VA is Broad Street Books, which is actually on 21st Street. They started out in Portsmouth, VA just over the Elizabeth River from Norfolk (or actually under since you have to take a tunnel to get there), and they were on Broad Street in the historic Port Norfolk neighborhood. But then a highway bypass took all the traffic out of their neighborhood, so they moved to Ghent, a nice Norfolk neighborhood full of restaurants and cafes, but no general interest book store. Broad Street Books has a good selection of fiction and non-fiction, and a great kids section in the back where the owner Susan Weaver reads stories to kids. The best part of the shop is that they practically beg you to hang around and flip through their books. They have a counter with bar stools where you can sit and chat with other customers or the store clerk. They also have nice reading chairs in the back and even offer coffee (no charge!) to customers. The store’s staff is always very helpful, and they’re all great readers. If they don’t have the book in the store and you need it right away, they’ll call another bookshop downtown called Prince Books to see if they have it. Or they’ll bring up the Norfolk Public Library website and search the online catalogue.

And Bob Sassone writes in with an appreciation for another bookstore that’s gone to the big backlot in the sky:

One of my favorite hangouts (and I really mean hangout
– I would stay there all day long) was the Avenue Victor Hugo bookstore in Boston. It was such a great place to find everything you were looking for: old mysteries and sci-fi, signed first editions, magazines, postcards. And they had an amazing collection of old sci-fi magazines from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Sadly, it went out of business (though I think they still do some business online).
Now there’s really no place around here quite like it.

Bob adds:

I’m not an indie store purist though. I love the giant Borders and Barnes and Noble stores. They have a great selection of books and mags, they’re clean, they have good drinks and food, and I find the staff to be well read and friendly too.

Bob, you provoker, you!

More appreciations always welcome.


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