Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Main Point Books - Wayne, PA

Main Point Books, Wayne, PA
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You just never know who you're going to bump into when you visit an independent bookstore.  Who do I happen to see in Main Point Books, but lo and behold it's Ron Rice and son Jake shopping for books!  Regular readers know that I've now visited all the indies featured in Ron Rice's, My Bookstore, and now I've had the good fortune to meet him.  Ok, it really wasn't an accidental meeting.  The thing about Ron is he knows bookstores and their owners so Main Point Books was one he recommended and then suggested we meet there.  Ron has never led me astray when it comes to bookstores and he hit the mark with this indie.

Main Point Books is a one-level indie located in the downtown area of Wayne, PA.  The store is fairly new, opening in 2013, but only in this space for the last year.  Cathy S.F., the owner, decided to move here to take advantage of better foot traffic.  It has proven to be a great move and as John, one of the booksellers told me, they had their best holiday season yet last year.  The store has a strong core of local customers but if you're coming from out of town like me there is plentiful metered parking (and it's cheap) right on the street.

I didn't get to meet Cathy on this visit but boy she had two super booksellers in charge.  John and Max were the best and told me everything I need to know about Main Point.  Successful indies have some common characteristics and you'll find those here.  Greeting cards and crazy socks are two of the popular sidelines you'll find.  They have frequent author events held in the store and a children's weekly story time.  John told me that the children's department and fiction are particularly strong for the store.  I thought the space was very bright and cheery with its attractive wooden floors and everything was arranged and organized neatly and logically.  A tip of the hat to Cathy for her vision and work here.  

And if you visit here when John and Max are in and don't want to talk about books, you can talk about the Big Ten.  Man, I felt right at home!  How did Cathy know to hire guys that I could talk to about the Big Ten?  Ah, the magic of an independent bookstore experience.  Find out what the people in Wayne, PA already know.  A 5-star store where you'll have a 5-star experience.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Small Mercies, Eddie Joyce.  As the quote on the cover says, "An intimate family portrait."  Story takes place in Staten Island, NY and is about a blue collar family who loses one of their three sons on 9/11.  The story relates the impact this has on the remaining members of the family, the victim's wife and children.  I thought this was a very good story and a good book.  Recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  Freddy Goes To Florida, Walter R. Brooks.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer.  American Ulysses: A Life Of Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald C. White.  

One of the attractive display windows.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  Some readers may recognize Ron Rice.  He beat me to the store and was already shopping for books!

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  

View looking to the right from the front entrance.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

A portion of the books of local interest and local authors.  

I love this wall mount behind the check-out counter.  

A couple of great places to sit and try a book.  

A portion of their wonderful children's section.  

I thought the hardwood floors in this store were beautiful.  

There is a bathroom.  I got a visual.  

View looking from the back of the store toward the front entrance.  

Many bookstores carry unique socks that I rarely see elsewhere.  

A portion of the staff picks display.  

With Ron Rice, on the left.  

Prudent readers may recognize the celebrity seated in front.  Yes, that's my mom.  In back L-R, John M., bookseller, yours truly, Ron Rice, Ron's son Jake, and Max M., bookseller.  

We did lots of group pictures at this store!  With Max on the left and John in the center.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Footnotes About The Journey & Ron Rice

Ron Rice takes a look at one of my travel journals of all the other bookstores I've visited along my journey.   The journal he's looking at documents the visits to stores not in MY BOOKSTORE.  
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I thought I would add a few more thoughts about my journey that some of the regular readers of The Indie Bob Spot might enjoy.  To be clear, I've completed the journey of the hardback edition of MY BOOKSTORE, which came out in 2012.  I didn't discover this book though until about 2013 or 2014.  There has been a recent release of MY BOOKSTORE in paperback this past spring of 2017.  The paperback edition includes a handful of newly featured independent bookstores, some of which I have already visited and some of which I haven't (but will, hopefully!).  As I have mentioned previously, the hardback version includes 81 bookstores, however, three have been closed and I was unable to visit them.  The three that have closed are:  The Capitola Book Cafe, Capitola, CA;  Chester County Book & Music Co, West Chester, PA; Next Chapter Bookstore, Mequon, WI.  As sad as this is, I have taken GREAT hope from the many new bookstores I've discovered all across the country and I think some of the dire predictions for independent bookstores are not only premature but are, on the whole, totally unfounded.  I've done the field work that the prognosticators and pundits have not.  

Ron Rice on the left, his journey was 30+ years to put this book together.  

This journey began for me about 3 1/2 years ago, in 2014.  And although it has only taken me a relatively short time to do this, the gentleman who brought this publication to print devoted 30+ years of his life to cultivating the final product that became, MY BOOKSTORE.  I've communicated with Ron Rice off and on for these past 3 1/2 years and on my recent trip to the east coast I finally had the pleasure of meeting him in person.  I don't know who was more enthusiastic about this, him or me!  Obviously, even though we have talked it was great to finally meet him and he filled in some of the blanks for me about the book as well as the recent paperback edition.  The biggest thing I took from him was the fact that it did take him those 30+ years to establish relationships with these bookstores, their owners, and their booksellers.  To me, that's the true journey and a big part of the story about the book.  And Ron's journey and work also includes countless other bookstores and their owners who aren't featured in the book.  As he once told me, for every bookstore that made the book he could've featured 5 more.  

So what now?  I finished one chapter so now I continue with another, ongoing chapter.  There is no timeline, there is no set destination.  So my journey continues to other deserving independent bookstores and the wonderful people who work there.  I would also like to revisit many where I've met some of the nicest people anywhere, they are all so enjoyable to visit with.   If any want to follow what I do, great.  If not, it doesn't matter.  The fun I have seeing bookstores and meeting the people who work there is priceless.  Thanks for following and now, let's get on to the next bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.         

I finally met him!

This looks like a team that just won a championship!  Well, in a way, it is.  Alert readers may notice the celebrity seated in front.  Yes, that's my mom.  Standing in back L-R, John M. from Mainpoint Books, yours truly, Ron Rice, Ron's son Jake, and Max M. from Mainpoint Books.  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Politics & Prose - Washington DC

Politics & Prose, Washington DC
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It is no longer mission impossible for The Indie Bob Spot, it is mission possible and mission completed.  Politics & Prose took me to the finish line of visiting every indie featured in Ron Rice's, My Bookstore.  The final tally for my journey through the book of 81 bookstores was 78 visited and the remaining 3 sadly are closed.  But Politics & Prose represented a sprint to the finish line and I can't imagine it being any better than my experience at this store.

This is one of those bookstores that many others around the country know about.  It is nationally renowned and recognized and you don't have to go more than three steps into the store to understand why.  They have a large two-level space offering all new books and a plethora of sidelines scattered throughout.  I don't think they have to worry about customers here either.  On the week day of my visit the store was packed and its obvious the store accommodates locals, tourists, and the occasional politician (the ones who read).  Make sure you visit the lower level to see the spacious cafe, The Den, as well as a large children's section, sale books and CDs, and a variety of greeting cards (available on both levels).  The store hosts as many events as any other indie.  Over 500/year in the store and multiple locations off-site, some ticketed and some free.  There are so many events that they have an entire events department, not just a coordinator.  Every indie should be so lucky!

Bradley G., the owner, and Jon, marketing director, were wonderful to meet and visit with.  I felt all the more fortunate to talk with them since this is not a small operation and they are quite busy.  Brad and his wife, Lissa, have been the owners for 6 years of the store's 33 year existence.  It is encouraging to hear their plans of expanding the current store and opening two branch locations.  Congrats, Brad, Lissa, and staff!

But while here, at my final indie of My Bookstore, I enjoyed the quintessential bookstore experience.  It was my good fortune to meet and visit with one of their regular customers.  Dr. Janet N. is a retired English Lit professor from the University of Maryland.  We had a great talk about the bookstore, books, and politics.  And the kicker is that she formerly served on the state board of regents.  In Iowa.  This doesn't happen with Amazon and this is one of the MANY wonderful reasons I go to independent bookstores.  What a wonderful experience.  

On your next trip to DC, you'll have a long list of tourist sites to visit.  Put this on your list.  Bring one of your senators here and pick out a good book for them.  And by the way, The Indie Bob Spot will continue to visit and report on this country's unsung leaders, the independent bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.  

CURRENTLY READING:  Small Mercies, Eddie Joyce.    

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Two key-chains, one P & P t-shirt, and a set of magnetic cats (yes, for real, this is what I bought).  

Many independents across the country are doing a "Find Waldo" promotion just like they are at Politics & Prose.  

This can be posted at any indie.  

One of the expansive front window displays.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  

View looking to the right from the front entrance.  

You'll need a book tote bag for everything you're going to get here!

Just a few of the greeting cards available in the store.  These are located near the front entrance.  

The store has a very extensive events schedule.  If you visit the store, check the events calendar near the front entrance.  

The sidelines available here are endless.  

This is a second room on the main level.  Go to the left after you enter and you'll find this space.  

If you're an aspiring author in the DC area, these people can help you.  

Table display of the store's monthly bestsellers.  

You'll find walls of new non-fiction and new fiction.  

A relevant display for today's climate.  

Just a few of the CDs available.  

You will EASILY find a unique non-book item for your purchase. 

This is a very busy bookstore so it helps to know where the check-out line begins.  

Lots of magazines.  

Naturally, lots of politics and philosophy.  

A large staff picks display.  

Only in a DC bookstore can you find something as unique as Airforkone.  

View looking from the back of the bookstore toward the front entrance on the main level.
When you enter the store you can browse the main floor or go directly downstairs to The Den cafe, children's department, bargain books, and more.  

A partial view of the children's section on the lower level.  

More children's section.  

The sale table on the lower level featured some great books.  

You'll also find CDs on the lower level.  

Consider a literary onesie for the little one.  

View looking into The Den, located on the lower level.  

Overview of The Den.  

With Brad in the center and Jon on the right.  Thanks for a great visit.