Friday, January 23, 2015

The Bookmark - Ft. Madison, IA

The Bookmark - Ft. Madison, IA
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Readers, if you've never been to a Mississippi River town, you need to put it on your list.  These towns have such great historical homes and districts, quaint neighborhood parks, old railroad depots, and more.  And when you visit THIS scenic river town, you'll also be able to spend time at a great independent bookstore.

This store is another example of how book owners refer me to other bookstores, truly a shared brotherhood and sisterhood among these owners.  When I told Chris at Burlington By The Book about my project, he told me I have to go see Bonnie in Ft. Madison at The Bookmark.  Thank goodness he did because this was a great find.  But this is nothing surprising for the people in Ft. Madison.  This one-level store has been doing business for 20 years which is remarkable for this sized community of approximately 11,000.  It has a great corner location in the heart of the historic business district.  The success of this indie falls directly on the shoulders of its owner, Bonnie, and her husband Mike.  That's the staff here and if Bonnie needs additional help she can call on a friend or two.

As you would expect, business here is strongly local.  The summer and fall months bring good tourist traffic into the store, which is huge.  This store also enjoys good business with the schools and library.  The website is outdated but Bonnie can order any book you want.  There is a great assortment of magazines and sidelines which are an important part of the profit margin here, similar to other indies.  When I asked Bonnie about the secrets to her success she said customer service.  That is one of the common denominators with successful indies and another reason I enjoy buying from these fine stores.

When you visit The Bookmark and meet Bonnie you will have a wonderful experience.  She is the quintessential definition of "midwest friendly."  She told me a lot about the store, how she got started, and the history of the building.  And even though this is a small store in a small community, it still  hosts occasional author events.  Renowned author Sandra Dallas is a regular here even though she lives in Colorado.

This entry about The Bookmark is old news for the people of Ft. Madison.  For all you others?  Put this town and its established independent bookstore on your list.  Another community lucky to have their own bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST GAVE UP:  Hild, Nicola Griffith.  Couldn't.  I think this is probably a great story but it is written with lots of 7th-century vocabulary which made it difficult for me.  But many others rave about this one.

JUST FINISHED:  The Last Duel, Eric Jager.  True story of the last duel in medieval France about a man accusing another of raping his wife.  Reads like a novel and history enthusiasts will enjoy this.  I loved it.  Recommended to me by Joyce Meskis at The Tattered Cover.  Highly recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  Weird Things Customers Say In Bookstores, Jen Campbell.  I thought this was an obvious choice for me.  Very light reading and enjoying it.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid, Bill Bryson.

Store front view with lots of reflection.  I'd be on that bench with a book on a nice summer day!

Another exterior view with another reflection!

A sentiment shared by all indies.  

The entrance to the store is from the inside of a building.  This is the view from the entrance looking toward the street where the front window is.  Conscientious readers will note the celebrity sighting in this small town, yes that's my mom.  

View looking toward the rear of the store where the children's section is located.  

A great selection of greeting cards.  

Many customers come here for magazines.  

Lots of varieties of scented candles.  

Watching your budget?  You're covered.  Find this section.  

Some of the sidelines include this collection of puzzles.  

View from the street side window looking toward the rear of the store.  

A better view of the children's section in the rear.  

This store is directly across from The Bookmark.  Need some chocolate?  This is your stop.  

With Bonnie, the fine owner of The Bookmark.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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