Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Burke's Books - Memphis, TN

Burke's Books - Memphis, TN

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How in the world does an independent bookstore survive multiple ownerships, multiple locations, multiple decades, and yet continues to succeed and thrive?  Heck, how does any independent bookstore make it at all?  According to Cheryl C., the co-owner here along with her husband Corey, it's tenacity.  She told me that, "you just dig your fingernails in and hang on."  I don't need to tell you other indie owners this.  She also added the obvious and what many others have told me, the need to have a real and deep passion for the business.  That comes out loud and clear at this terrific indie in Memphis.

This one-level bookstore is located in the Cooper Young neighborhood of Memphis.  The area here is slowly evolving and, for lack of a better word, becoming more hip.  This is all the better for Burke's Books and that along with the nearby residential area is having a positive effect on the store and its location.  This location provides good foot traffic and this has made a nice improvement in business over the former location.

The store itself offers new and used books as well as collectable and vintage books.  The book buy-back program offers cash or store credit and as with most other indies that offer used books, store credit is the better deal.  Cheryl told me that the collectables include many esoteric and unique books that are difficult to find in other places.  She said that they don't need to really hunt for these books to place them here, the customers with these books to sell seem to find them.  One of my favorite things about this store was lots of chairs!  Thank you Burke's Books!  Multiple chairs in every aisle so you can take your time browsing books.

On the day of my visit, I had a great time talking to Cheryl, and Sue, one of the staffers here.  They were both wonderful to talk to and told me a lot about the store and its history, Memphis, and of course more book recommendations.  Cheryl said that their store has weathered many peaks and valleys but feels that things are now trending upward.  A good sign for all indies.

I know that all you Elvis fans will be coming here on your pilgrimage to Graceland and when you do, you can pay a visit to this nice neighborhood and a fine independent bookstore.  In the meantime, go to the store's website and support this indie by ordering a book online.  Readers, see how easy I'm making it for you?  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

RECENTLY FINISHED:  Tell No One, Harlan Coben.  Fantastic.  One of the best page-turners I've ever read.  I've never read anything by this author but now I'll have to keep him in mind.  How his mind created this incredible mystery is unbelievable.  Highly recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  Being Mortal, Atul Gawande.  Non-fiction.  Getting a lot of buzz.  So far so good.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Patrick Melrose Novels, Edward St. Aubyn.

Another exterior view before entering.  

Sign on the side of the building next to a large parking lot with free parking.  

One of the window displays.  

Find some bargain books outside.  

View looking straight through the store from the entrance.  Some of you more established readers may recognize the celebrity already diving into a book to buy, my mom.  

Vintage and collectables located here, near the front entrance.  

A very comfy place to try a book.  

There are little to no sidelines here but you can find famous finger puppets!

With the co-owner, Cheryl.  Thanks for a great visit!

Show your children what a typewriter looks like.  

New paperbacks, near the front of the store.  

If comics are your thing, you'll find them here.  

Local authors and many local interest books.  

Looking straight back through the main aisle of the store.  Books are on bookshelves extending from the side walls creating many side aisles.  

All the side aisles have chairs.  Hallelujah!

One of the fancier chairs.  

Looking from the rear of the store toward the front entrance.  

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