Saturday, September 26, 2015

Subtext Bookstore - St. Paul, MN

Subtext Bookstore - St. Paul, MN
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If I were an urban-dweller in downtown St. Paul, MN, I would be all over this place.  A great space in a historical building in the heart of a bustling and energetic metropolitan area.  Man, I love locations like this one.  And if you need a latté you walk right across the street to one of my favorite regional coffee shops, Dunn Bros. Coffee.  But that latté might have to wait because once you visit Subtext Books you won't be in any hurry to leave.

Subtext Books has only been in its current location for a little over two months.  According to Sue Z., the owner, it has been a great move for a couple of reasons.  The rent at the previous location was raised drastically (does this sound familiar indie owners?), and the new location provides a much higher visibility for the store.  The previous location was a lower level space (get it?  SUB text?) so it wasn't visible to the casual passerby or the casual book browser.  The new street level location in St. Paul has changed all that.  This new location is not only bringing in a new customer base but the store has also retained its many loyal customers from the old location.  A win-win for this indie.  In addition to these customers, the store has some good tourist traffic which adds up to a solid business.

Subtext has been around for about 3 years and Sue is very knowledgeable about the business with many years of experience.  She started at a bookstore back in her 20s in Montana and here in the Cities she was at Common Good Books, just to name a couple.  In her 3 years, she's definitely seeing a trend in favor of independent bookstores and the buy local movement.  She and her staff are doing a fine job in the new space and it will continue to evolve over time.  The store has a good assortment of new and used books, and some carefully chosen sidelines all produced and created by local artists.  These include a unique line of greeting cards, jewelry, and handbags just to name a few.  Bring your used books in and receive store credit, always a great incentive for customers.  I think the history section here is particularly good, one of Sue's strengths.  Traffic in the store is increased by frequent author events and book clubs as well as the lunch time rush hour from all the folks who have offices in the downtown area.  Another thing I love about this place?  LOTS of comfortable seating!  This makes it so easy to take your time in a bookstore.

I think Subtext Books is lined up for a nice, long run in the bookstore business.  A knowledgeable, friendly owner, a great selection of books, frequent events, and a very advantageous location.  If you're in downtown St. Paul and haven't checked this place out yet, hop to it.  Or be a tourist like me and enjoy a great experience at a fantastic bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Us, David Nicholls.  Couple married for 20+ years finds their marriage on the rocks but have already committed to taking their moody 17 year old son on a European vacation.  Will this save the marriage and family harmony?  I liked this one, didn't love it.

CURRENTLY READING:  Fourth Of July Creek, Smith Henderson.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Destiny Of The Republic, Candice Millard.

Enter here into a short hallway, then turn right into the bookstore.  

Great bargains just outside the store.  

View looking into the store from the entrance.  Keep in mind that many of these pictures will look different as Sue and her staff continue to redesign the interior.  

Just inside the front door you'll find a nice section of regional and local interests.  

Some of the staff picks.  

I really like this area.  

More local interests.  

All those comfy seats will probably be taken so you might have to settle for this one!  

Dog accessories.  

Some unique and original greeting cards can be found here.  

What?  More places to sit?  WOO HOO!  Bring your book club in.  

Looking from the back of the store toward the front.  

A list of upcoming events.  

A gentlemen named Ernest is creating unique jewelry available here.  

With Sue, the fine owner of Subtext Bookstore.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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