|Changing Hands Bookstore - Tempe, AZ|
I know I've used this word before to describe a few other indies but it simply can't be avoided when talking about Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. This place is overwhelming. It will hit you the minute you walk in the front door. This place is overwhelming in every category; books, sidelines (unbelievable), children's department, author signings and events, used books and buy-back program, The Wildflower Bread Co. right next door and connected on the inside, restrooms (take THAT Amazon!), and lots of free and easy parking. And I'm sure I've left something out. This indie is an award-winning store and one of the 81 featured bookstores in Ron Rice's, My Bookstore, the guide for my journey (I'm going to all of them). It's easy to see why it's nationally recognized. The only thing missing was the independent bookstore cat but I think we'll let that slide.
As far as books go, the breadth of inventory is outstanding, including new and used. If you need a real bargain head to the room in the back of the store that offers $2 books. In terms of sidelines, this store has to be a top ten in the country with their volume and variety. It would be impossible to detail everything available. Suffice to say they have the usual journals, greeting cards, t-shirts, socks, etc. as well as those extraordinary items only found in an independent bookstore. The store has a very active book buy-back program and offers 50% store credit, good for anything in the store with no expiration. One of my favorite things they offer is a reader's club bonus card. Fill 10 squares at $10 a square and receive $10 off your next purchase. This is a great program for regular customers and I really wish more bookstores would offer a similar incentive. The store has a very busy events schedule and events are held on-site as well as off-site depending on the space needed. There was a recent event that drew 350 people. What a great way to get customers in the store.
They have a large staff here and I met many on the day of my visit. Everyone I met and talked to was extremely nice, a common characteristic of most booksellers I meet. I didn't get to meet Gayle S. or Bob S., founders and two of the co-owners of Changing Hands Bookstore but I did get to meet Pinna J. and Brandon S., community events manager and marketing director, respectively. Both were so generous with their time on a very busy day and I'm always greatly appreciative of this during my visits.
This place has been around for about 41 years. Things are going so well that they opened a second store a year and a half ago. If for some reason your personal beliefs prohibit you from visiting Tempe, then you can go visit Changing Hands Bookstore at their new store in Phoenix. And while you're at the Phoenix store you can enjoy a craft beer. As far as I can tell, you won't go wrong visiting either location of the Changing Hands Bookstore. Don't miss this incredible bookstore, you won't regret it. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: Night Train, Clyde Edgerton. Another one of those authors I've found out about while visiting bookstores in the south. I'll be looking for more of his books. 1963 in North Carolina and two high school kids, one white and one black, share a common love of music and deal with the issues of race and what they can and cannot do. I loved this book, great story.
CURRENTLY READING: The Golem And The Jinni, Helene Wecker.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: How About Never - Is Never Good For You? Bob Mankoff. I Thought You Were Dead, Pete Nelson. GIFTED: A very cool long-sleeve Changing Hands t-shirt. Thanks Pinna and Brandon!
|Good grief there are books outside and it's the middle of December, where am I, Arizona? Duh, yeah. As someone from the midwest, I marvel at this!|
|More books outside and a nice front window display.|
|View looking into the store from the front entrance. This picture doesn't do justice to how overwhelmed you'll feel when you step inside.|
|View looking to the right from the front entrance.|
|Windchimes of all varieties.|
|Some indies have shopping baskets but I don't remember seeing shopping baskets mounted on carts!|
|A nice display of new arrivals, just inside the front entrance.|
|A great book buy-back program, located right in the front of the store.|
|All the way from Iowa to Arizona and I run into these two celebrities browsing the store. Some of you may recognize Jill P. on the left and Lorrie C. on the right.|
|Another view of the store.|
|Jewelry available here.|
|A large display of staff picks.|
|Lots of magazines available.|
|Timely sidelines for the holiday season.|
|Just a few of the greeting cards.|
|More of the incredible variety of sidelines.|
|Looking into The Wildflower Bread Co. from the bookstore side.|
|A partial view of the kids' section.|
|View from the back of the store looking toward the front entrance.|
|Local interests and authors.|
|Since I'm traveling around the country visiting bookstores I particularly liked this section.|
|With Pinna on the left and Brandon on the right. Thanks for a great visit (and a great t-shirt available only at Changing Hands Bookstore!)|