Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Longfellow Books - Portland, ME

Longfellow Books - Portland, ME

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Here's the skinny about Longfellow Books in Portland, ME.  Thriving and successful going on 14 years.  A featured indie in, My Bookstore, by Ron Rice.  An email newsletter delivered to over 15,000 people.  A locally owned, award-winning business.  A knowledgeable and friendly staff and an extremely passionate owner.  Basically, this indie kicks butt and takes names!

Some places I visit on my journey just have a vibe and this is one of them.  This place has an energy and vibrancy that is undeniable.  The whole time during my visit there were customers coming and going.  The store has new and used books and many sidelines, but not overwhelmingly so.  Newspapers, magazines, assorted greeting cards and novelties can all be found here.  The sidelines are important to the profit margin but make no mistake the books are the main story (pun intended!) here.  The customer base is strongly local and the store is totally engaged.  Author events are frequent and held on site in this one-level store, but occasionally will be held at another venue depending on the crowd.  There is a cat here in this independent and if you visit and think it is absolutely the most adorable creature on earth, you can adopt it and take it home.  Lots of indies have cats, how many let you adopt one?  What a great public service.

When I visit these indies I don't always get to meet the owners but I lucked out today.  If you look up in the dictionary,"passionate bookstore owner," you'll see a picture of Chris, the owner here at Longfellow.  In between transactions and other customers, I got to talk to Chris quite a bit about the store and independent bookstores in general.  Chris shared with me that he is starting to feel the pendulum swing back toward independents.  As I travel the country, I'm getting this sense from others as well.  He was great with his time and very amiable to talk with me as were several of his staff members, including Ian and Charlie.  And if that weren't enough, while I was there author Bill Roorbach came in and I got to meet and talk to him.  Five minutes before he arrived I had just bought his new book, The Remedy For Love, highly recommended to me by Chris and others while here on my visit.  This was one magical day.

For most midwesterners, Portland, Maine is a remote outpost with little to offer.  Readers, this trip has certainly changed my thinking and I encourage you to add it to your places to visit.  This indie is located in downtown Portland and there are a lot of things to see and do here.  Heck, even if you don't buy a book go across the street and visit the beautiful public library.  But you will visit Longfellow Books on your trip here and you'll find out what everybody around here already knows.  This place is a giant among the indies.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh.  Hilarious and I loved it.  Especially some of the dog stories.

CURRENTLY READING:  So Big, Edna Ferber.  Almost finished.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Remedy For Love, Bill Roorbach.

Window displays at Longfellow.

They may have a cat in the store but they don't discriminate!

Looking to the right of the store and some of the sidelines upon entering.  

Looking straight into the store from the front door.  

Display of bestsellers at Longfellow.  The one I bought is top left.  

Some of the staff picks.  

Need a magazine?  Get it here!

Great selection of greeting cards.  

Sideline displays.  

Lots of books with local and regional interest.  

Have a seat and try out a book.  

This room is off to the right after you enter.  Majority of the books are here.  

A great children's area.  

I didn't see the cat but it can sometimes be found here.  

Chris, the owner at Longfellow and a great ambassador and spokesman for independent bookstores.  Thanks for a great visit, Chris.  

A chance meeting and brush with greatness for me.  Author, Bill Roorbach on the left.  

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