Sunday, September 3, 2017

Browsing Bison Books - Deer Lodge, MT

Browsing Bison Books, Deer Lodge, MT
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Throughout my journey I've had the opportunity to meet many wonderfully talented indie owners and their staffers.  People who know how to sell books, present their store, and have boundless creativity.  With all due respect to these gifted people, I don't think there is anyone I admire more than Nancy, Cris, and Matt at Browsing Bison Books.  If you're an owner or bookseller who thinks you have a talent, give it a try within these parameters.

     1)  Open a bookstore somewhere in the mountainous region of Montana.
     2)  Your store must be in a town of no more than 3000 people.
     3)  One of your staffers must be a volunteer.
     4)  You must continue to offer author signings and attract authors.

Naturally, there are a few other conditions but you get the idea.  Think you could do it?  Well, that's exactly what's been happening at Browsing Bison Books since 2002, something I find truly admirable and remarkable.

Browsing Bison is a long, narrow one-level store located on the main street through town.  The store offers new and used books with the new ones located near the front and the used ones toward the back.  Customers bring in their used books for trade or store credit.  Like any bookstore, Nancy told me they have many regulars and many regular book traders.  The store's strength is certainly westerns and a lot of books by local authors and Montana subjects.  The customers come from smaller nearby towns and also occasional tourists passing though town and making a point of finding a bookstore (evidently, there are others out there besides myself).  The other claim to fame in Deer Lodge is the Montana State Prison.  The prison library supports Browsing Bison by buying their books here.  The store has a few sidelines, but as Nancy told me, they're mostly about the books.  Something that I find even more impressive when considering this store's challenges.  

Cris, the co-owner with Nancy, and Matt, a bookseller, weren't in on the day of my visit but I had a great time meeting and talking to Nancy.  I occasionally throw around the term rock stars to describe these bookstore people.  But for these three in Deer Lodge, MT, it really fits.  Congrats to all three on their work and perseverance at this remote outpost.  It's an easy place to visit on your next trip across Montana, located right on Interstate 90.  Pay them a visit and enjoy a trip to an independent bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  After The Fall, Noah Hawley.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare, G. K. Chesterton.  

Another view of the storefront.  

One of the display windows.  

Great view looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Table display of recent releases.  

Looking to the left from the front entrance at an attractive shelf display and some of the greeting cards available.  

Have a seat here near the front window and sample a book.  

Another great display right by the front window.  

Used book pricing.  
A portion of the children's area.  

If you consider that customers who are looking for large print books are usually senior citizens, shelving them at eye level rather than the bottom shelf makes more sense.  Seniors cannot get down on their hands and knees to see the bottom shelf!   Here at Bison Books they are shelved at eye level and I can't tell you how many times I've seen it the other way.  

A side room offers space for book clubs.  

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

I think it's probable that there are more books here than there are community members.  

With Nancy on the left, one of the fine co-owners at Browsing Bison Books.  Thanks for a great visit.

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