Saturday, August 13, 2016

River Reader - Lexington, MO

River Reader - Lexington, MO
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Readers, I doubt many of you know much about Lexington, MO so here's a few things you should be informed of.  This town of approximately 4500 is home to Wentworth Military Academy, an institution that has been here for over a century.  The people here make their living largely in agriculture related fields.  There's lots of history here, especially with the Civil War.  The town is located about 50 miles east of Kansas City on the Missouri River.  But best of all is the incredible independent bookstore here that would be the envy of so many larger communities that have nothing like this.

River Reader is a reflection of a national trend of recent business growth for independent bookstores. The store has been here for 12 years now, a great run for any indie but I think even more impressive in a town this size.  Pat, the owner, told me she can see good growth in the business and they are doing more than just getting by.  When I asked her what her secret was she looked me straight in the eye and gave me a succinct, one word answer.  Stubbornness!  Well said, Pat.  This is only one of many characteristics that define the successful bookstore owner.

The store offers all new books in a very long interior space.  There are a good variety of sidelines and 50% of the store's inventory is geared towards children.  River Reader hosts author signings and some events as well as book clubs.  There is a great space for these folks to meet in the back of the store.  They can also enjoy a coffee, espresso, or some home-made baked goods while there.  Stubbornness may be part of the success but the community is devoted and very supportive of River Reader.  Pat has a good partnership with the local school as well as a local library.

Best of all is the great time you'll have meeting Pat and visiting with her.  History buffs will love talking to her and seeing the town.  She really brought me up to speed on 19th century Missouri history which I always enjoy.  Most of all though in a community this size, it gives people a gathering place.  In the words of one local customer I talked to, it gives people a place to come in and bitch!

The next time you're driving across Missouri, Kansas City to St. Louis or vice versa, here's your place to take a break.  Visit a town with an interesting historical heritage and check out the terrific independent bookstore that lives there.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Bartender's Tale, Ivan Doig.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Fifth Gospel, Ian Caldwell.  How to Buy the Right Plants, Tools & Garden Supplies, Jim Fox.    

Before you walk into the store, look over your shoulder at the beautiful and historic courthouse.  

When you see this sign, you know you're at an independent bookstore.  

View looking through the store from the front entrance.  

Have a coffee at this table in the front of the store.  If you need milk, you're seated by the cow!

View looking at the neatly arranged shelves to the left of the front entrance.  

A great display for this region.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

Looking to the right side of the store, a mirror image of the left.  

Some of the sidelines include a nice selection of journals.  

Have a beverage while browsing for a book.  

An award-winning indie.  

Have you heard?  There was a recent Harry Potter release!

The before picture of the cookies.  You'll need one to go with that beverage.  

Lots of sidelines here for kids including the Melissa & Doug line of toys.  

A couple of great seats to try out a book.  

This is a partial view of the wonderful space in the rear of the store.  Book clubs and coffee drinkers can hang out here.  Frequent readers may recognize the celebrity checking out a book.  Yes, that's my mom.  

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

I thought the history offerings here were great.  

With Pat on the left, the fine owner at River Reader.  Thanks for a great visit.  


  1. I couldn't agree more! I live in Kansas City, 8 miles from a Barnes and Noble, and I visit River Reader as often as I can.

  2. I wish every community had something like River Reader. Thanks for the comment!