Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Book Loft - Columbus, OH

The Book Loft - Columbus, OH

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Roger.  This store is really about Roger, his vision, his passion, his unconditional loyalty to this independent bookstore.  I didn't get to meet Roger today but I sure got to know him through his colleagues and current co-owner, Carl.  Roger passed away two years ago but in my one hour conversation with Carl he is clearly remembered and thought of very highly.  I can't begin to relate everything that Carl shared with me but I can condense it down to one simple observation.  This indie wouldn't be here if it weren't for Roger.  Let me state very clearly in words that every reader should know.  Book Loft customers all owe a debt of gratitude to Roger for this wonderful indie in the German Village of Columbus.  Thanks Roger.

This bookstore opened in 1977, with little to no money (don't all indies start like this?) and in a smaller space than its current size.  Yes, it advertises 32 rooms of books.  I don't know if that includes the books that are also in the nooks and crannies.  There are also books outside.  Portions of this store are housed in buildings that pre-date the Civil War.  One of these may have even been a "house of ill-repute," well over a century ago.  If you're a history buff instead of a bookworm, there is plenty in this neighborhood to attract your attention.  The store itself rambles up and down and front to back, on multiple and somewhat asymmetrical levels.  This creates a maze-like effect that can be rather confusing for first time visitors but that's all part of the fun on your visit.

The inventory is massive with both books and sidelines.  The prices are some of the best I've seen at an independent.  Lots and lots of greeting cards and you find these all over the store.  Also lots of music gift items, CDs, DVDs, book bags, and t-shirts.  In fact, if you wear your Book Loft t-shirt into the store you get an additional 10% off your purchase.  I think this is fantastic and wish more indies would consider something like this, a wearable coupon!  In some ways, this reminds me of a condensed Powell's in Portland, Oregon.  Powell's is considerably larger in size, but Book Loft has so much in their multiple levels and rooms.  Narrow aisles, stairways, and passages so watch your step.  If you are looking for a place to sit consider going to a bench outside in the courtyard entrance or pull up a foot stool used for shelving.  Just not enough space for chairs.  Another cool thing is you can hear different music in the different rooms.  Everything from John Lee Hooker and B.B King, to Gregorian Chant and Celtic Hymns.  Very nice.

This is an award winning bookstore.  The beautiful garden/courtyard area just won an award this year.  My pictures don't do it justice.  But most of all, the people here are the true award winners.  Carl, the co-owner along with Russell; John, the manager; and staffers like Debbie and Glenn.  As with so many of my visits on this journey, all of these people were wonderful to talk to and shared with me lots of great information and stories about this store.  I know they miss Roger though and all that he did and sacrificed for this store.  But they continue to remember him and as long as they do that I think his presence will continues to be felt here.  If you live in the Columbus area and haven't been to this indie you're making a big mistake.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

RECENTLY FINISHED:  The Martian, Andy Weir.  It was ok.  An astronaut is left on Mars and survives on his own while NASA tries to figure out if he can be rescued.  If you're into math, chemistry science, or outer space, you'll especially enjoy this.

CURRENTLY READING:  Euphoria, Lily King.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving.  Room, Emma Donoghue.

Approaching The Book Loft of German Village from across the street.  

No caption needed.  

A portion of the front of the historic Book Loft building.  

This is your entrance into the store, through the courtyard/garden to a side door ahead on the right.  

Another view of the courtyard looking towards the front street.  

The outside of the store on the side of the building after walking through the courtyard.  

New books waiting to find a home on the shelves.  These are probably long gone by now!

Some of the sidelines.  This store has one of the largest selection of jigsaw puzzles anywhere. 

The rooms are numbered to help you locate your interests.  

One of the narrow aisles.  

Room 13 for the above items.  

Portion of a wall with a variety of bookmarks available.  

Follow the directions to your favorite rooms.  

Greeting cards can be found all over the store.  

The comic book room.  

A great children's area.  Lots of stuff here.  

Best sellers display.  

Different music is played in different rooms throughout the store.  If you hear something you like in one of the rooms, you can find it here.  

???  What the heck is Taschen?  I don't know but they have it!  

Lots of t-shrits here.  

Yes please.  

A few of the well-deserved awards displayed here at The Book Loft.  

Carl, the co-owner in the center and John, the manager on the right.  Thanks for a great visit!

One last view of the beautiful courtyard entryway at the Book Loft.  

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