Sunday, October 15, 2017

Indy Reads Books - Indianapolis, IN

Indy Reads Books, Indianapolis, IN
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The majority of the bookstores I visit have a component of community outreach or involvement as part of their store's profile.  Indy Read Books takes this to a whole new level because this bookstore IS a social cause.  This bookstore is a designated non-profit (insert independent bookstore joke) and its existence is to help provide funds to support adult illiteracy in central Indiana.  A bookstore and a social cause wrapped up together as one in the downtown cultural arts district.  A win-win as I see it.

This is the only bookstore in downtown Indianapolis.  The one-level store is housed in a beautiful historic building and offers new and used books.  There are about 80% used and 20% new and you can find the new books on any of the table displays.  They only accept donated books for their used inventory which is a great way to keep overhead down and increase revenue for their social cause.  Indy Reads also offers music on vinyl, CDs, DVDs, and a few sidelines.  With the store's mission, sidelines are an expense that needs to be taken into consideration, not knowing how or if they'll sell.  The bookstore has been open for 5 years now and originated from the non-profit organization, Indy Reads, which has been active for 30 years.

The store enjoys a solid core of regulars and many out-of-town visitors who are downtown in Indianapolis and seeking a bookstore.  Like other indies, this store has many author events and signings and a great area to host these right in the store.  And although the store hasn't shown dramatic growth since opening, it has remained steady with some slight growth.  In my opinion, this place is poised to take off as more people find out about it and also thanks to a great location.

It's also poised to take-off due to the wonderful store manager, Meredith H., the only full-time employee.  There are 4 other part-timers and a cast of 30+ volunteers that keep this place neatly organized and ticking away.  I'm always appreciative of people like Meredith who take time to tell  me so much about the business, especially one with a cause.

So visit this great indie and do so without experiencing any buyer's remorse or guilt.  Everything you purchase is plowed back in to the community for a super cause.  In other words, come here and buy books, lots of books!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Tragedy Of Brady Sims, Ernest J. Gaines.  Story of a man who murders his adult son in a courtroom just after the son has received a guilty verdict.  Lots of discussion ensues in the local barber shop among all the regulars.  A short book.  The author is known for, A Lesson In Dying.  I liked this book, didn't love it.

CURRENTLY READING:  Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, Chris Cleave.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  An Indy Reads t-shirt.



A closer exterior view.  

The store has lots of great window space.  

View looking straight into the store from the front entrance.  

Great view of the right side of the store from the front entrance.  

Looking toward the left from the front entrance.  

Now this is what I call a budget-buster section!

Halloween is on the way.  Here's your section.  

Used books that won't stay here long.  

Neatly arranged new book display table.  

A great place to sit and try a book.  

Or you can sit and try one here if the other chair is taken.  

I don't need anymore t-shirts or books.  Yes, I'll take one.  

Follow this sign to your favorite section.   


Fanta Graphics from the 80s.  Haven't seen these anywhere (but I'm sure they're out there).  

An assortment of music on vinyl.  

This is one large pillar of books.  The local woman who helped design this store's interior did a fantastic job.  

Help fight adult illiteracy in central Indiana.  


These seats are on a raised stage area where in-store events are held.  

Boy, you can do a lot of holiday shopping for kids at this price.  


When you need a break from book browsing have a seat here and a game of chess.  

This store has all the genres.  

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

They really do have a nice staff picks section even though you can't tell it from this picture.  

Look for the yellow tags throughout the store for more staff picks.  

Floor to ceiling books.  I never get tired of a picture like this.  

Lots of music on CD.  

I second it. 
With Meredith, the fine store owner at Indy Reads Books.  Thanks for a great visit.  


Friday, October 6, 2017

The Little Read Bookshop - Wauwatosa, WI

The Little Read Book, Wauwatosa, WI
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The Little Read Book in Wauwatosa is celebrating 32 years in the book business.  When I visit bookstores like this, I think they are deserving of all the recognition and accolades that they can receive.  And not only the store, but their owners and staff.  As owner Linda B. told me, many of her staff have been here since nearly the beginning of the store.  Of course, after my visit to The Little Read Book I'm not the least bit surprised.  A great store with wonderful people.

The Little Read Book is located in the historic village section of Wauwatosa.  This one-level store has been here for 28 of the past 32 years and it was a good move coming from its original space which was only 300 square feet.  The store is in a building that was a former bank which allows it to have some of the best storage space I've seen.  They have storage space on the main level behind their public space and lots of storage in their lower or basement level.  There is also a great area for book clubs downstairs.

This indie offers all new books and a good assortment of sidelines.  As Linda told me, these are critical to the store's profit margin, something many other bookstores understand.  Their variety of greeting cards, journals, socks, and jewelry sell especially well.  The most unique offering here is the gurgling pot, something you have to see to believe (ask for a demo when you visit).  The customers here are mostly local but they do get a good influx of out-of-towners, especially those who drive up from Illinois on the weekends.

Linda is the store's founder and its only owner for the 32 years.  She, along with staffers Anne and Kevin were wonderful to meet and to visit with.  When you come to this store, you'll meet these knowledgeable people who can easily talk to you about many books and authors.  If you drive here, you can enjoy free parking right on the street or in the lot next to the store.

If you're in Wauwatosa and haven't been here yet, you're 32 years late to the party.  That's ok, you're forgiven, but NOW you know about this place so get yourself to this great independent bookstore and see what you've been missing.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Unbelievable, Katy Tur.  Author's excellent recounting of when she was first assigned to cover candidate Trump and ended up being on the beat for his entire run to the presidency.  If you thought you knew everything about his campaign you better think again.  Detailed and documented so there can be no question of its validity.  This book is outstanding but it will be painful to relive this sh#t all over again.  It couldn't have a more apt title.  Highly recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Tragedy Of Brady Sims, Ernest J. Gaines.    

A beautiful bookstore on a beautiful day.  

The expansive window display says it all.  

Nicely painted front door.  

You can help your book budget before you even get in the store.  

No wonder this store has been in business for 32 years!  

View looking into the store and to the right from the front entrance.  Hip readers may recognize the celebrity ducking the camera in the center.  Yes, that's my mom.   

An award-winning business.  

Looking into the children's department.  

 A partial view of the children's room.  

Many independents allow you to place an order online.  Always consider this if you can't visit in person.  

A few of the store recommendations.  

Display of local interests and authors.  

Some of the sidelines include journals...

...reading glasses...

...socks...

...and a line of items from Chronicle Books.  

Display of recent releases near the front of the store.  


I'm not sure I've been to a bookstore where you can get the iconic Sherlock Holmes hat to go with the book!

If you're a Packer fan, you don't want to miss this store.  

Just a few of the greeting cards available.  

A variety of attractive and affordable jewelry.  

You don't have to tell me!  

Crane & Co stationery available here.  

An overview of the store from the back looking toward the front entrance.  In its former life, this store used to be a bank.  


This is the gurgle pot and I've seen nothing like it anywhere.  Ask for a demo.  


They have lots of great space in the basement including this area which is perfect for book clubs.  

With Linda, the fine owner at The Little Read Book.  Thanks for a great visit.