Sunday, July 31, 2016

Prospero's Books - Kansas City, MO

Prosperous Books - Kansas City, MO
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Location, location, location.  I hear this from many successful bookstore owners and that's certainly one of the components for success here at Prospero's Books.  This place has been around for 19 years and before opening, Will L., one of the co-owners, spent time here just tracking the traffic to determine if the location would work.  It proved to be a great decision and now the store is entrenched in the community with deep roots.  After visiting this bookstore, I can't imagine it not being here.

So how good is this location?  It's situated on the corner of a very busy W. 39th St. stretch in Volker Neighborhood.  The area is thick with lots of unique businesses and shops.  Off of this busy street you'll find lots of old, large, and uniquely architectured houses.  An ideal combination of residential and businesses.  Just down the street is the large KU Medical Center which attracts families from all over the country and in turn brings them to the bookstore.  The cherry on top of this location?  Tom, one of the co-owners, is the landlord for the building, a really great benefit for any indie owner.

And what will you find in this great location?  Three spacious floors of books, CDs, vinyl, and a few greeting cards thrown in for good measure.  Except for a few new publications by local authors, all of the books are used.  Customers who bring books in can receive store credit or cash.  There's no shortage of books here with over 75 categories to browse.  This makes it impractical to maintain a data base but like all good used book store people, Will has a good handle on what's in the store.  They also have books available on the outside sidewalk after hours which is great for late night hospital visitors walking through the neighborhood as well as some of the indigent population in the area.  If a customer decides to get a book after hours all they do is slide the money under the front entrance door.  I think this is a great idea and Will told me that it works well.

One of the best things for Prospero's are its frequent events.  Will told me that this is huge for them here and is a critical part of their business.  They have a great events space on the 2nd floor and 2/3s of these events are music.  They're able to charge a cover for the musicians and offer assorted beverages to enhance the atmosphere.  They also publish and host many local authors and have done very well helping these authors and aspiring musicians.

You're going to have a great time visiting this store and meeting Will.  He's been involved with political campaigns so talking with him about politics, books, and music made it a great visit for me. I didn't get to meet Tom, but what a great conversation I had with him by phone.  If you want to know about the store's history, make sure you visit with him.  Like many other indies I've visited, this one is showing good business growth over the last few years. My advice to you?  You need to visit here and see for yourself why everything's up to date in Kansas City!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Songs Of Willow Frost, Jamie Ford.  Depression-era in Seattle's Chinatown and a single mother reluctantly abandons her 7 year old son to an orphanage.  Read this great book to find out why.  If you enjoyed, Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter and Sweet, you'll like this one by the same author.  I thoroughly enjoyed this one.  Highly recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  Trombone Answers, James M. Donovan.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Rockabilly Guitar Play Along, Hal Leonard.  The Sexy Vegan Kitchen, Aimee Christine Hughes.  Not purchased but gifted, my very own Prospero's t-shirt!  Thanks Will!

You can find a nice assortment of books before you even go inside.  

If you find a book outside that you like, follow these directions.  

You can even sit down in a great chair outside to sample a book.  

Looking into the bookstore from the front entrance.  

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  There's a stairway here that will take you downstairs to more books.  Notice the pool balls on the posts.  Very nice.  

This is one of those bookstores where you would probably see something different every time you visited, just like a museum!

When you get tired of sitting outside come inside and find this chair.  

A really cool pile of books.  Reminds me of my unread pile.  

One of the many long book aisles here.  

A portion of the kids' area.  

A view looking across the 2nd floor.  This is a great events space, host to lots of music.  Tom put in marathon hours in this upstairs space remodeling it into its current state.  

You'll find lots of vinyl on the 2nd floor.  

CDs as well.  

This looks like a therapy couch.  "Yes, doctor,  I have a compulsive problem visiting bookstores."  

Another view looking back across the 2nd floor.  

View looking into the lower level of books from the stairway.  This level has some nooks and crannies to explore.  

If you want to sit in the most unique chair in the store, find this one downstairs.  

A great place on the lower level to talk about a few books.  

One of the nooks on the lower level.  

Another view of the lower level.  

Need a bargain?  Here you go!

With Will on the left, one of the fine co-owners at Prospero's.  Thanks for a great visit.  


  1. It's everything he wrote about and more. Have been a solid participant since it opened.

    1. Janet's right. I only experienced the tip of the iceberg! Thanks Janet!