Monday, June 29, 2015

The Book Shoppe Inc. - Boone, IA

The Book Shoppe Inc. - Boone, IA
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Hey central Iowa, you need to wake-up and smell the coffee.  You have a wonderful independent bookstore right under your nose but apparently some of you are late to the party.  It's been here for about seven years so you're out of excuses.  When you visit The Book Shoppe Inc. you'll discover the same thing I did, a terrific independent bookstore with great people and lots of books.

This one-level indie is located in the downtown district of Boone, IA, population approximately 12,000, a great location with easy and free on-street parking.  As stated in many previous posts, there are communities far larger that have no such bookstore.  Customers include many local residents, people from surrounding communities, and some tourists.  The store offers both new and used books all of which are extremely well-organized and easy to find.  Some indies with used books do not have them on computer inventory but that's not true here.  They know exactly what they have on the shelves.  The store has a great book buy-back program offering store credits.  They're also fortunate that many of their used books have been donated.  The demand for literature and poetry has grown and those sections have expanded accordingly (or should I say, accordionly? you know expanding like an accordion?) (I digress, just roll your eyes and tell me to move on).  There is also a good stock of sci-fi, westerns, and children's books.  There are a good variety of sidelines with the Melissa and Doug's children lines and greeting cards being the best sellers.  Susan, the owner, told me that these items and other sidelines, along with the used books, are critical to the survival of her business.

The secret here is really no secret at all.  The Book Shoppe Inc. shares many characteristics of other successful indies with the best one probably being excellent customer service.  After you meet Susan and Bonnie, a volunteer staffer, you'll understand what I mean.  Bookstore owners don't get many days off, as most of you know.  On the day of my visit Bonnie was in charge but she called Susan to come in and meet me even though it was her day off.  That's what I call excellent customer service!  I love the big indies I've visited, like Powell's for example, but I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have happened there.

The store is limited for author events due to space and accessibility for seniors.  If anyone can figure out a way to work it out, it will be Susan.  Even with this limitation, independent bookstore business is on an upswing and she's encouraged by the trend she sees here at her store and with indies in general, a sentiment shared by others I visit.

Part of visiting bookstores is for the experience.  I had a great experience here with Susan and Bonnie and enjoyed browsing the several aisles of books.  Cat lovers will enjoy the benefit of two beautiful cats and if you're lucky, you might even get to see the bookstore dog.  But no matter how you slice it, you'll enjoy a wonderful visit to a successful independent bookstore.  Don't miss out.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Life We Bury, Allen Eskens.  Outstanding.  Probably one of the best books I've read in the last several months.  Fiction about a college student who needs to interview a senior citizen for a writing project but it becomes way more than a class project.  Highly recommended and I think this will appeal to all readers.

CURRENTLY READING:  Life After Life, Kate Atkinson.  Dog Songs, Mary Oliver.  I rarely read two at once but Dog Songs is an easy one.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Ranger's Apprentice, Book One: The Ruins Of Gorlan, John Flanagan.  The Boob Girls, Joy Johnson.

Front window display.  

You can start browsing books and the great prices before you even enter the store!

View of the store from the front entrance.  

Some of the sidelines for kids to the right of the entrance.  Kids are going to have a great time in this store.  

This section of books for children, near the front of the store.  

Melissa & Doug items are a huge seller here.  

Just a few of the greeting cards you can find here.  

A great place to sit and try out a book.  

A portion of the children's section in the back of the store.  

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

One of several book aisles.  

No, you are not seeing double.  When I first saw these cats I thought it was just one walking by a mirror.  There really are two and they look alike.  

A variety of state and regional interests.  

Because Amazon doesn't have bathrooms, you won't see this sign unless you visit an indie!  

With Bonnie and the left and Susan in the center.  Thanks for a great visit.  


  1. Thanks for this great write up of my favorite store in Boone! Susan has introduced me to many new authors and kept me up with my favorites.

    1. Thanks for the comments, Jennifer. Susan is great at the store and Boone is fortunate to have her and a great independent bookstore. Next time you go, take a friend! Bob

  2. This is a great book store! I have lived in Boone and have been buying from Susan for years :) She is always willing to help and we find the that buying process is great compared to other places. She will also give me a discount for being an educator and that helps a lot when you are buying a lot of books!

    1. I just found out what you and others in Boone already know, Veronica! A great store with a nice person running it. Next time you visit, take a friend! Thanks for the comments.


  3. Susan knows her books! Let her know a few of your favorite authors and she'll introduce you to a few more that you'll fall in love with. And she is VERY supportive of Indie Authors! Take a peek at the third to last photo, my two books are on the lower right side!!!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jill, and I'm sure you can totally appreciate bookstore owners who are supportive of authors like yourself. Thank goodness for people like Susan at The Book Shoppe!