Category Archives: Bookstores

Thank You Books – Birmingham, AL

Thank You Books is one of Birmingham’s newest bookstores and an all around indie hot spot. This shop is a lot of fun and has so much energy for having just popped up in December 2019. I think this just shows how much care and consideration the owners are putting into their bookstore and the books they select. They’re selling new books and the care and consideration carries over into the way they deal with the shop’s visitors as well (both online and offline).

The seem to be most active on Instagram and I’ve enjoyed lurking during some of their “live” events online. Just good book people sharing the books they enjoy and doing what they can to foster a healthy book culture here in Birmingham.

I sure do miss visiting bookstores… but these photos will have to do, until the self-isolation period is over. Once it is, be sure to give them a visit, here’s some details (and I really do recommend following them on the social channels):

Thank You Books
5502 Crestwood Blvd, Unit B
Birmingham, AL 35212
205-202-3021
https://www.thankyoubookshop.com/
twitter: https://twitter.com/thankyou_bham
instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thankyou_bham/

And here are the photos taken back, in 2019, soon after the opened. It seems like years ago. Notice how the stars on the front sign are carried on throughout the store across the floor? So fun!

Best Bookstore in the South 2020

E. Shaver, Bookseller has been named the South’s Best Bookstore for 2020 by Southern Living magazine. It’s always good when an indie bookshop gets some recognition outside of its hometown.

E. Shaver, Bookseller is located in Savannah, GA and sits on one of the most idyllic and walkable squares I’ve ever visited. Savannah has a few great bookstores and E. Shaver, Bookseller is definitely on the “must visit” list.

When things aren’t so crazy in the world you can visit the bookstore during their normal hours:

E. Shaver, Bookseller
Monday-Tuesday 9:30am-5:30pm
Wednesday-Saturday 9:30am-7:00pm
Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm
Phone (912) 234-7257

The shop is fun to walk around as it has lots of little very well lit rooms and a solid collection of local and regional books.

I have to admit I felt a little bummed while pulling up these photos from my last visit and getting them ready to post. It dawned on me–it’s been weeks since I’ve browsed in a bookstore. I haven’t been to my usual haunts in what seems like forever. So I think I am going to start posting photos from all my past shop visits. When I travel (work or family) we always make a point to visit local bookshops and I’m always taking photos. So there’s plenty to work with and I’m a little excited to start going back through the past couple of years of photos. None of the photos were taken with “these will go online one day” and for all I know some of the shops may have closed up.

But my hope is that by browsing virtual shelves and bookstores the senses will calm and help me look ahead to when we all can get back out there and visit our local bookstores. So more to come and I’m happy to be kicking things off with the E. Shaver, Bookseller photos.

I hope each of you have a good book nearby, are tucked in, safe and as well as can be.

Price Matching at Barnes and Noble

Yesterday, I had a great Barnes and Noble experience, in Birmingham, as they are now letting customers get the BN.com price, in the store, and I want to share.

I needed a copy of Mark Larabee’s Pacific Crest Trail book (which is a beautiful book, by the way). I called my indie shop down the street and they didn’t have a copy.

I went to BN.com and saw that the book was $36 (which matched other online retailers) compared to the $50 in-store price. That’s a great discount. I was also able to see that a local Barnes and Noble store had it in stock.

Then I remembered a little birdie telling me that B&N is running a price matching program for B&N Members. I am not sure why they aren’t trumpeting this.

I walked in a local Barnes and Noble and asked the manager about it. She confirmed that it is real and then shared some of her thoughts about it. I would say she was neither plussed nor upset about the practice, just that…

“…customers have been confused by the different prices in store and online and have been asking for this for a long, long time”.

I thought that a pretty fair assessment.

All I had to do was go up, give them my B&N Membership number and the cashier showed me the special “compare to current BN.com price” button, on the register. It took all of 2 seconds and I checked out with the lower online price + tax. The cashier said that if you always ask for the comparison (again after your member # has been entered) the system will give you the lowest price possible. So if your member discount drops the in-store price lower than the online price, you’ll still come out ahead.

This is exactly the kind of customer-focused thinking Barnes and Noble needs to be doing.

  1. I was able to research prices and availability online
  2. I could have even reserved a copy online
  3. I was able to go to a local store, pay local taxes, and get the lowest price Barnes and Noble was offering, online or off.
  4. I had my book immediately (which even beats free 2 day delivery)

Hopefully, more customers will use this price-matching program. It leverages the best pieces B&N has access to, and will keep them  relevant and front-of-mind for local readers. These kinds of services can help them win in a way that all their past experiments, with in-store restaurants and bars, just can’t do.

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.