|Books & Co, Oconomowoc, WI|
If I were ever going to open a bookstore (not going to happen) I would have Lisa B. on my speed dial. Lisa is the owner at Books & Co and she really knows the business and the industry. Everything from national trends, community preferences, to sidelines and more. She has a breadth and depth of bookselling experiences from New Mexico, to Kansas, to Iowa, to Wisconsin, and probably other places I'm forgetting. Lisa is well-connected with the ABA (American Booksellers Association) which is a fantastic resource to assist bookstores with any number of challenges. Add to this her ability to converse and interact with customers and you have yourself a talented owner and bookseller. Given all this, it's no surprise that Books & Co is a successful and enduring independent bookstore.
Considering this store is located in a community of about 15,000, I think its inventory is outstanding. Books & Co has all new books including the recent releases and bestsellers. In recent years, they've really beefed up their children's section and that has proven to be a good decision. The store offers a good variety of sidelines including greeting cards, boxed sets of cards, and those crazy socks that I only seem to find in bookstores. As with other bookstores, the sidelines are a critical part of the store's profit margin. The store continues to do well or as Lisa told me, "We're still in business!" Good news for independent bookstore patrons.
One of the things that Lisa shared with me was the importance of the store as a community gathering space, or a "3rd place." A place where families can gather for free, a place for children to enjoy a story time, a great place for teens from the nearby hight school to hang out. Another advantage is the coffee shop located right next door and accessible though the inside of the store. I think all book stores are community centers to a certain degree but it is front and center here at Books & Co.
When I asked Lisa what her secret was, she told me what I've heard from others. Tenacity. This, along with creativity, a friendly staff, free parking (seriously, this is huge), and an expansive one-level space are just a few of the reasons you'll want to visit Books & Co. You'll enjoy the wonderful people here and I can guarantee they'll have lots of book recommendations for you to check out. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: Searching For John Hughes, Jason Diamond. This book is mainly about the author's obsession with every movie that John Hughes has produced, written, or directed. He touches on many of those films and inter-weaves the story of his own personal life challenges, especially his difficult childhood. Meh. If you're a John Hughes fan, this is a must read.
CURRENTLY READING: A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: Wintering, Peter Geye. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, Karen Foxlee.
|Another exterior picture that suffers from my poor photo skills.|
|One of the front window displays.|
|Great view looking into the store from the front entrance.|
|Look to the right from the front entrance and browse an assortment of magazines.|
|More magazines are located to the left of the front entrance as well as a line of Baggallini.|
|An attractive display for the kids and a pajama time story hour. A great idea.|
|You'll be able to spend a long time in front of this terrific display, on the left side of the store after you enter.|
|Lots of staff recommendations to choose from.|
|A few of the greeting cards available.|
|If I were a regular, I would go straight to this area and try out a book. The doors on the left lead into the coffee shop.|
|Take a reading break and play a game of chess.|
|A great quote above the doors that lead into the coffee shop.|
|If you visit a bookstore and they have a pair of socks you like, get them. You'll rarely find them elsewhere.|
|I love it when I find stuff like this in a bookstore!|
|A good selection of audio books, for rent or purchase.|
|Looking into a portion of the children's section.|
|A nice place for a little reader.|
|View looking toward the front entrance from the back of the store.|
|Please pass this thought along to the people who don't get it.|
|I love the big book cover posters around the store.|
|With Lisa, the fine owner at Books & Co. Thanks for a great visit.|