Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Head House Books - Philadelphia, PA

Head House Books, Philadelphia, PA
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When I visit bookstores, I know I'm taking a chance whether or not I get to meet the owners.  Sometimes they know I'm coming, sometimes they don't.  My visit at Head House Books was almost over and I was almost out the door but I stopped briefly to pet a dog (naturally!) and chat with the dog's owner, a regular customer (who later piped up, "we need this bookstore in this neighborhood!").  Thank goodness they were there and I stopped because that's when store owner Richard D. came through the front door.  In addition to meeting Richard, I was compelled to spend even more time in a wonderful independent bookstore.

After so many bookstore visits you would think I'd seen it all, but not so.  The first thing I noticed when I entered the store was the unique way Richard displays the books on the shelves.  You can see both the covers AND the spines, angled on the shelves.  I don't recall being in a bookstore and seeing them arranged like this.  Another indie owner told me that this is a subtle marketing strategy but Richard laughed when I mentioned this and said its all aesthetics.  Whatever it is, I think it is a terrific way to display books and I can see both points of view.  There's certainly no denying the aesthetics.

The store is located in a very historical area straddling the Queen Village and Society Hill neighborhoods.  The business is now 12 years old, and things are going fairly well.  Both Richard and Vivian, one of the staffers, said that they can tell people are coming back to the "buy local" movement and more of them have a consciousness about this importance.  The attractively arranged store is a long, narrow one-level space offering all new books and a few sidelines.  The greeting cards do quite well as do many of the kids' games and puzzles.  Author events are held in the store as well as off-site for larger crowds.  You'll notice a mix of old and new with the historic tin ceilings and sky lights.

Since I didn't meet Richard until later in my visit, I spent most of my time talking to Vivian.  She was terrific to talk to and told me lots about the store and the area.  It is so enjoyable to talk to these people who are so knowledgeable about books and bookstores.

Certainly, many of you will visit Philadelphia for the rich historical sites and stories.  But you will be making a BIG mistake if you don't take time to include this SITE among your SIGHTS.  You'll enjoy this store and the wonderful area where it's located.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Survivor's Club, Michael Bernstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Time's A Thief, B.G. Firmani.  

Another great exterior view. 

This sounds like a great class, held right in the store.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

Look carefully at how the books are arranged on the shelves allowing the customer to see the covers AND the spines.  I really like this.  The compromise for Richard, the owner, is that it limits the amount of shelf space available for more books. 

A closer look at how the books are arranged on the shelves.  

Table display of some of Richard's favorite books.  

A great place to sit and sample a book.  

A very good selection of books relevant to the arts.  

A few more of the sidelines available.  

View looking into the children's section.  

Some of the featured books for younger readers.  

View looking from the back of the store toward the front entrance.  Observant readers may recognize the celebrity seated in the chair.  Yes, that's my mom.  

I was trying to get a picture to show the vintage tin ceiling and the sky lights.  Trust me, it looks much better in person.  

Another example of how the books are shelved and displayed.  

You can get the book AND the rabbit!

With Vivian, one of the fine booksellers at Head House Books.  Thanks for a great visit.  

With Richard on the right, the fine owner with one of his book recommendations.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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