Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Parnassus Books - Nashville, TN

Parnassus Books - Nashville, TN

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In the words of my mom, "My God, that place was crowded," and, "That place was so crowded I couldn't even move."  Music to the ears of bookstore owners here at Parnassus and everywhere.  This indie is one of the bookstores featured in My Bookstore, by Ron Rice, and it's easy to see why.  A great location, well-staffed and friendly, co-owned by a former book sales rep and a best-selling author, free parking, and on my visit, one friendly dog.  It all adds up to make a perfect storm for a successful independent bookstore business.

This store is located in the Green Hills area of Nashville.  This is a mega-retail area and shopping options are everywhere.  This works great for Parnassus.  The store is one level with all new books and includes a great children's section in the rear.  There are a few sidelines, but make no mistake books are the business here and on the weekday afternoon of my visit business was booming.  The store also has frequent author and book events, the majority of which are held right on site.  For large events that may attract more than 100 people, the store has a great partnership with local libraries which provides options for those occasions.

Author Ann Patchett and Karen H., a former book sales rep, co-own Parnassus and it is a great partnership.  Both of these ladies have enough experience that lends itself well in knowing what works and what doesn't in a bookstore.  The store has only been around for three years but it is clearly poised for a long, successful run.  I didn't get to meet Ann on this visit but I did meet Karen and had a great chat with her.  She and the store were very busy on this day so I felt quite fortunate that she was able to talk to me about Parnassus.

I know these ladies are good at what they do here, but my best conversation was with Grace, one of the booksellers.  Unsolicited, she told me these two ladies are fantastic.  Great people to work for and they really know their stuff and their business.  I think if I were to open a store or knew someone who needed bookstore advice, I would arrange a meeting with these two.  Grace is the picture of a happy bookseller and is a wonderful ambassador for the store (Note to Karen & Ann: this girl is good!  I think she deserves a raise!).  And a happy bookseller is a good bookseller!

So when you plan your trip to the Grand Ole Opry or a Tennessee Titans football game, you have one more important stop.  A great little bookstore will be waiting for you in a wonderful shopping district.  Take your copy of Bel Canto just in case Ann is in.  Then browse the aisles, pet Bear, and pick out a book.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Being Mortal, Atul Gawande.  Non-fiction.  Author is a doctor and writes about how we need to re-examine the care given to senior citizens and also how we need to change the status quo in care centers, assisted living, and retirement homes.  Enlightening and very good.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Remedy For Love, Bill Roorbach.  I met the author in Portland, ME at Longfellow Books.  So far so good.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Eyre Affair, Jason Fforde.

Great seasonal window display.  

I ALWAYS like it if I see a dog inside!

View looking to the right of the store after entering.  

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

You'll find t-shtirts and magazines here.  

Schedule of events at the store.  

You won't be buying just one book so make sure you pick up a shopping basket at the front of the store.  

Local authors and interests.  

Great chairs to sit in and enjoy sampling a book.  

A nice selection of greeting cards.  

Look for the above topics in this room.  

A small door for small readers.  The children's section in the rear of the store.  Don't worry big people, you don't have to go in this entrance!  

A portion of the children's section.  

A few more sidelines.  

This is Bear and he is one friendly dog!  

With Karen H., co-owner.  Thanks for a great visit!

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