|Books On First - Dixon, IL|
Readers, do you remember the lyrics to the "Cheers" TV show? Somewhere in that theme song you hear the words, "where everybody knows your name." That describes Books On First in Dixon, IL perfectly. On the day of my visit, there was a steady stream of customers and everyone knew each other. I was the stranger in a small town of 15,000. But by the time I left, I felt as comfortable as everyone else chatting with the fine owner Larry D., and several of his customers. This is your hometown bookstore and you will love visiting here.
Larry moved here from Chicago and has been in business successfully for almost 17 years. How can this be? How does this small town of 15,000 (of which 2000 are incarcerated, according to Larry!), support an independent bookstore? Throughout my journey to bookstores, this is always a big unanswerable to me. Here in Dixon, there is definitely strong local support. There are a few sidelines but that is not a major part of the business (One of the sidelines? A dozen eggs. Larry owns chickens, he sells eggs!). It is a great location right in downtown Dixon and Larry owns the building so he doesn't have to worry about rent. One of the best parts of the business is the coffee shop right inside the store. Larry stated they wouldn't be able to get along without that part of the business. The store is situated well regionally, within easy driving distance of Chicago and other large Illinois towns. But I really liked Larry's response when I asked about his secret to success, "make sure your wife has a good job!"
The bookstore itself is a one-level store with new books and a very small collection of used books. The store is divided into two large rooms, one of which is devoted entirely to children. In Larry's words, "thank God for grandmothers!" The children's section looked great. On Saturdays you can come here and listen to live music, a great way to bring people in.
The customers I talked to all heartily endorsed this bookstore. One asked me if she could give it three thumbs up! I was saddened though by what Larry told me was his biggest competition, people just don't read as much as they used to. Readers, encourage your children, encourage your grandchildren, talk to a friend about a favorite book. Who knows, maybe you'll inspire someone to visit a terrific independent bookstore in the Illinois heartland. You won't be disappointed. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: Three Graves Full, Jamie Mason. Fiction. A guy moves into a house that has two dead bodies buried in the flower gardens, unbeknownst to him. Then he adds one of his own in the back yard. It was ok. A good premise that never really took hold for me. Of course, many others will thoroughly enjoy this.
CURRENTLY READING: Dear Committee Members, Julie Schumacher. Loving it.
|Grab a coffee inside then come out here and take a break.|
|View looking into the store from the front entrance.|
|Need a magazine? Look here!|
|It's baseball season and this indie is close to Chicago. Find your Cubs and White Sox books here.|
|A few of the sidelines.|
|Lots of greeting cards.|
|View from the back of the store looking toward the front.|
|Another view from the back of the store looking toward the front.|
|Next door to the main room of the bookstore is this room, devoted entirely to children. This room is where the live music happens on Saturday nights.|
|Another view of the children's room. Lots of little chairs for little readers.|
|A few of the kids' books here.|
|Order your coffee here and have a seat at one of the tables in the front of the store.|
|With Larry, the fine owner at Books On First. Thanks for a great visit!|