Category Archives: Bookstores

Week 3: Be the Expert In Bookshops #nonficnov

Welcome to Week 3 of Nonfiction November 2017. Kim over at Sophisticated Dorkiness is hosting this time and has posted the prompt for this week, which is:

You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

I have chosen to go the Be The Expert route and recommend some books I’ve read that will help you be an expert on: bookshops. I love book stores. Indie shops, chain stores, weird half-shelf spaces hidden in Publix crammed with paperbacks, garage sales, local authors selling from the back of their cars. I love shopping for books. And I am thankful for all those folks who realize how thin the margins are, how long the hours are, and how important local bookstores are to our communities.

So if you’ve ever wondered about how all the dots connect in running a bookstore, or if you’re like me and just love reading about bookshops, I’d recommend checking out these books.

Books on Bookshops

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, A History by Lewis Buzbee is a wonderful quick read. It is one of my favorite bookstore books to recommend to folks. Buzbee started out as a clerk in an indie bookstore and never left. He shares stories and insights into all aspects of the bookshop, from customer service, to the stock room, the history of book selling and debates whether or not books are getting too expensive.

Reluctant Capitalists by Laura Miller could almost be called a text book. It’s a pretty academic and data driven look at the last 100 years of book selling. This book is unique in its discussion of local bookshops being seen as noble or moral pursuits. It’s pretty dense on the page, but a solid read if you’ve ever found yourself wishing things “were like they were 50 years ago”. It’s a pretty detailed and hardcore book industry-geek book, but very well done.

My Bookstore by Ronald Rice falls squarely in the inspirational read for me. Many of the writings deserve underlining and being trumpeted. The book is simply a collection of essays from a bunch of authors talking about the “why” of bookstores and why they matter. It’ll have you raising a glass saying Cheers!, after many of the pieces.

 

One More Bonus Bookshops Book

Footnotes from the Greatest Bookstores by Bob Eckstein is a bonus book here. It’s just a wonderful little book that any bookshop lover will appreciate. Eckstein’s book is a collection of large postcard shaped paintings accompanied by blurbs. The short text shares interesting trivia or lore about the bookshop pictured in each painting and they even spill the beans on any famous celebrity types that might hang out there. It’s a really fun design opening on the short end of the book and is fun to flip through. It makes a good gift for bookish friends.

That’s it! Have you read any of these books? Any other good bookshop books I should check out? The Be The Expert is always my favorite week of Nonfiction November and the last time it I participated in Nonfiction November I shared books on book covers design, and it was pretty fun. If you like books, you should check out those titles too.

Three Upcoming Birmingham Book Events

The gift giving season is just about here and I’m ready for all of the book signings and author events to kick into high gear. If you’re in the Birmingham, AL vicinity here are three upcoming book related events that may interest you.

Tuesday, November 7th, starting at 6 pm

Authors Hank Early (Heaven’s Crooked Finger) & Carrie Smith (Unholy City) will be signing their books at the Little Professor Book Center in Homewood.

Saturday, November 11th, 11:00 am – 03:00 pm

Join authors and readers for day of programs, signings, books and lunch as Southern Magic, the Birmingham chapter of Romance Writers of America, hosts Lynn Raye Harris and special keynote speaker #1 New York Times bestseller Abbi Glines. Tickets are $40 and there are plenty of books, goodie bags and door prizes.

Thursday, November 16th, starting at 5:00 pm

The Alabama Booksmith is hosting author David DiBenedetto for a signing of his new book S Is for Southern: A Guide to the South, from Absinthe to Zydeco, which compiles a bunch of A-Z stories, anecdotes and definitions from the folks and Garden & Gun magazine.

Ann Pachett Interview on CBS Sunday Morning

This past weekend CBS Sunday morning aired a piece on the success of Ann Patchett and her bookstore in Nashville, TN. During the seven and a half minute story they covered everything from bookstore dogs, the launching of new independent bookstores, author tours and even Ann Pachett’s writing style.

Here’s a link to the video. It’s better to click through and watch as CBS has all their embed stuff set to auto-play and I’m not going to do that to you.

When you’re done watching the video, you can click on through to Ann Patchett’s shop’s site and browse as well. Though I can attest, it’s much more fun to visit Parnassus Books in person.

I think CBS Sunday Morning should highlight an indie bookstore every couple of weeks. I feel certain they’d get all of the colorful characters, commentary and quirky video they like to have these days. Anyway, it’s a fun little interview to watch while finishing your morning coffee this week.

Little Professor Book Center – Photo Tour

The Little Professor Book Center has been a mainstay in Homewood, AL since the early 1970’s and has recently re-opened in its third location. It’s neat that all three locations have been on the same street.

They are located at:
2844 18th St. S., Homewood, AL   35209
Phone:   (205)870-7461

Their hours are:
Monday-Friday 9:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday 10:00am – 6:00pm

The new shop is a fun stop. The big front windows let in so much light, the covers near the windows really shine. No matter where you stand in the book store you can see to the other side and use all of the section signs posted on the pillars for navigation. The Little Professor is located smack dab in the middle of downtown Homewood now and their foot traffic must be 200x what it was.

Though there are no more used books and there is no more Crape Myrtle Cafe (home to one of the best pimento cheese sandwiches in the Birmingham-area) it’s worth checking out for the fully stocked shelves and cozy seating area.

And of course, the same smiling faces are there ready to chat all about books!

Below are a few photos I took of the new bookstore. You can also catch up with the Little Professor crew on Twitter, Facebook or over on their site.