Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe - Asheville, NC

Malaprop's - Asheville, NC
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There are many characteristics that can define a successful independent bookstore.  But two of the obvious ones here are a long run of 30+ years and incredibly loyal local support.  No more evidence of this is needed than when the store relocated into its current building and devoted customers helped move books and formed a human chain to move them.

Asheville, NC is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is modestly populated by 80,000+ citizens.  Yet, the town has a strong literary tradition and is home to several bookstores.  I only mention this because I live in a larger town with only one small independent bookstore of note.  The success here though is not just due to local customers.  Alsace, the events coordinator, mentioned that they have tourists in the store daily, including international visitors.

This store has a little bit of everything that contributes to its success.  A great café right inside the front door; author events in-store or off-site where you can enjoy a glass of wine (if independent bookstores don't offer wine at author events, they should consider it); all new books including a great selection of regional picks; a nice children's section, also located near the front of the store; and a great variety of sidelines.  Everything is located on one level and I think the store is very user-friendly.  If you'd rather get a used book, visit their sister store, Downtown News & Books, owned by Malaprop's and within easy walking distance.  

I didn't get to meet either of the owners on this day but I can tell you they have great people running the place.  I had a wonderful time talking to Alsace and Caroline, the sidelines buyer.  They couldn't have been nicer and were very kind to take so much time to talk to me on a busy day.  Caroline does a great job with her sidelines and other bookstores could certainly pick her brain about this.  She told me that the usual greeting cards, journals, etc. are always good sellers.  Otherwise, she thinks the sidelines that are offered should be funny.  I mean, come on, who wouldn't like to get an inflatable beard?!  If you need one, this is your place.

I think the term malapropos has something to do with the misapplication of words.  Uh yeah, I'm sure regular readers know I have a lot of that.  Title aside, there's nothing inappropriate or out of place about this bookstore.  This is a recognized, renowned, award-winning bookstore.  You'll see why when you visit.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Mattie C.'s Boy: The Shelley Stewart Story, Don Keith.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Fourth Of July Creek, Smith Henderson.

Malaprop's as seen from across the street.  It has a great corner location.  

Another view.  

View just inside the entrance and looking toward the café on the left.  

View looking into the store toward the right.  

Lots of staff favorites selections.  

Need a bargain?  You'll find one here.  

A portion of the children's section.  

Buy a book autographed by the author.  

You'll recognize some of these recent releases.  And underneath be sure to get a t-shirt to go with your book!

Malaprop's is very active with author events.  

You need a gnome and a fez.  

Since you're getting a gnome and a fez, you might as well get a shopping bag.  

See what local book clubs are reading.  

One of the book aisles stretching to the back of the store.  

A great assortment of regional offerings.  

Sit down and try out a book.

Another book aisle view looking from the rear of the store toward the front.  

Who wouldn't want wet wipes in a package like this??  I love it!  

I love the drink titles in the café.

Alsace on the left and Caroline on the right.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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