Happy Indie Bookstore Day to all! The team here at The Experiment is so excited to see how widespread this day has become, and we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the business of connecting readers to great books. To honor this special day in the literary world, some of us took a moment to recall a hometown or NYC-based indie bookstore that helped shape our love of reading (or that happened to be closest to our favorite popcorn shop in the case of Nick Cizek). Point is, we love our indie bookstores and are so glad there is a day devoted to them.
Karen Giangreco, Copy Chief and Digital Publishing Manager, Bernardsville, NJ, The Bookworm
“I love visiting The Bookworm, which is somewhat hidden on a woodsy road—off the beaten path through the center of town—but around the corner from my piano teacher’s. More than once they have saved me when I needed a last-minute gift (or, for myself, the latest Harry Potter book). When I was finishing eighth grade, I received an unexpected and generous gift certificate that gave me my pick of their young adult shelf, where I had the good luck to discover Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series. That one has staying power!”
Savannah Lamb, Intern, Great Barrington, MA, Yellow House Books
“They sell used and rare books, and are in a cute building on Main Street with a porch and hardwood floors. It was always fun to stop in and look around with my friends when I was younger—the owners are really nice, and let you spend hours looking at books in the back. When I worked at the movie theater in high school, sometimes I would wander over and buy an old paperback on my break and then read it behind the counter when the movies were playing.”
Nick Cizek, Editor, Chagrin Falls, OH, Fireside Book Shop
“It’s a nice little town near where I grew up outside Cleveland, with a waterfall in the center, and Fireside is right around the corner from the old Popcorn Shop. You can grab a book at Fireside, stop by the Popcorn Shop to get ice cream, and then watch the falls and read a bit.”
Jennifer Hergenroeder, Publicity and Marketing Manager, The Triangle, NC
“I spent 9 years in The Triangle in NC where we’re lucky to have some of the best independents in the country. Even after so many years, it’s hard for me to pick a favorite. Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books & Music has an amazing staff and events program, McIntyre’s Books has a wonderful fireplace that welcomes you to curl up and read, Flyleaf Books is a local favorite right off of campus in Chapel Hill, and Regulator Bookshop is a must-visit in Durham. How could I pick just one?”
Allie Bochicchio, Editor, Jersey City, NJ, Word Bookstore
“In my free time I review books, so I like to go to Word to find books to read for pleasure. It has a relaxing atmosphere, and the Local Author section is an added bonus since I love to support fellow Jersey City residents.”
Matthew Lore, Publisher, Oakland, CA, Pegasus Books
Way back when I started out in publishing, I lived in north Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood. On my three-block walk home from BART late each afternoon or early each evening, I walked past College Avenue’s Pendragon Bookstore. More days than not I’d pop in to browse and check out the new arrivals. Back then I was in the habit of writing lightly in pencil on a book’s first page or endpaper where and when I bought a book. My Pendragon-notated books are my Proustian madeleines, taking me right back to those sunny, golden afternoons, when the tinted sun shades would be pulled own over the plate-glass windows (which face west) and my trip home could easily be delayed by an hour or more.
How happy it made me on a November 2014 trip back to the Bay Area, to stop back in and find not only the store (now rechristened Pegasus Books, to match its sibling stores) as chock-a-block with used, new and remainder books as ever—but our very own Moon Calendar Card display situated right in front of the cash register!
Sarah Smith, Art Director, Montclair, NJ, Watchung Booksellers
“My favorite indie is Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, NJ. It’s a gorgeous store inside and out—the sort of place I’d like to live in. I love the way they display the books; they put hand-written notes on them telling why they enjoyed it. The people who work there are passionate readers and those are the sort of folks that make wonderful booksellers.”
Batya Rosenblum, Editorial Assistant, Everywhere in the Country, USA, Every Independent Bookstore
“Growing up, we didn’t have a nearby indie bookstore, now, you can find them anywhere. Check out this awesome website, which is a directory of indie bookstores throughout the country. Whenever you travel you can find a local bookstore.”
Sarah Schneider, Design and Production Associate, Williamsburg, BK (NY), Spoonbill & Sugartown Books
“One of my favorite indies is Spoonbill & Sugartown Books in Williamsburg. On three separate occasions I stumbled upon books on their tables that I now consider three of my favorite books of all time. If ever I need a new book rec, I can usually count on the selection at Spoonbill to point me in the right direction.”
Vivienne Woodward, Publicity and Marketing Assistant, Ithaca, NY, Buffalo Street Books
“Buffalo Street Books (previously known at The Bookery) was one of my favorite places as a little kid. I was a relatively um, high-spirited (read: obnoxious) child, but there was something about browsing through the shelves here that put me in some sort of book-ish trance. I think it was my mother’s favorite place, as well.”
Now here’s the real question—what’s your favorite bookstore?