Saturday, November 7, 2015

Letters Bookshop - Durham, NC

Letters Bookshop - Durham, NC
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People, I want you to read the following passage in quotation marks using the voice in your head that sounds like a creaky, raspy old man.  "Why, back in MY day, we never visited any shiny and bright used bookstores.  No, the ones we visited were dark, we couldn't even see what we were buying, and cats were running rampant.  There were cobwebs and everything smelled musty and moldy.  The books were water-logged and they had coffee mug stains.  And there wasn't any new-fangled art work on the walls.  There was dust everywhere and by God, that's the way we LIKED it."  Letters Bookshop is a predominantly used book store.  But it breaks every used bookstore stereotype in, well, the book.  Trust me, when you visit this indie you won't believe it's a used bookstore.

This place wasn't on my radar until Helen at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh told me I needed to visit Land A., the owner, and his bookstore in downtown Durham.  Thank goodness she did and she's right, this place is beautiful.  I've been to a lot of used book stores, some lack organization, some have that "book" smell (which I don't mind at all), but Letters Bookshop has none of that.  This place is very bright and airy, lots of room to move around and very browser friendly.  The organization is excellent and for those who worry about that used book store smell, there isn't one.  Although it is labeled as a used bookstore, they do have a couple of displays of new book releases.  But make no mistake, this is definitely a used bookstore.

The store is less than two years old and is still finding its way.  There are very few sidelines, rarely host author events, and have a small staff.  David B., a bookseller and the only employee besides the owner, Land A., told me it is all a progression here.  This store will continue to evolve and shape itself to include many things associated with successful independent bookstores.  They're continuing to identify their customer base which is largely local.  They are very particular about the books they acquire and have many avenues to do so.  Book sales, estate sales, Friends of The Library, and individual customers are just a few of their sources.  For customers, they offer store credit for books in good condition.   I can tell they're picky because the books here look great.

I didn't get to meet Land during my visit but I understand he has a great background in the bookstore business.  I did meet David though and he was great to talk to about the store and the success it is enjoying so far.  The talent these two have is obvious when you visit this store and look around.  Letters Books has a great future and you need to see it now to be a part of its beginning.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  I Am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes.  This book is not for the faint of heart.  Chilling.  Fiction but doesn't take a leap to imagine this happening.  A muslim extremist is determined to take down America and his plan to do so is scary.  America's only chance is the best covert operative we have.  Highly recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  Andy & Don, Daniel de Visé.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier.

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the left from the entrance.  

And a close-up from the above picture of what would be my favorite spot.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

Attractive display of featured fiction.  Have you read any of these?  

Find your bargain here.  

Lots of regional authors and interests.  

Yes, you can find staff pick displays at used bookstores.  

A nice view of the long wall of books and displayed artwork above the shelves.  

A table of featured non-fiction books.  

A portion of the children's section.  

View from the back of the store looking toward the front. Lots of space to move around, attractive and neat.  

The opposite wall of books, non-fiction.  

Look for some great bargains at this display.  

An indie trademark, offering locally made items.  

With David on the right.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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