Monday, March 30, 2015

Lemuria Bookstore - Jackson, MS

Lemuria Books - Jackson, MS
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There is LOTS to like about this independent bookstore in Jackson, Mississippi.  If this indie were a woman, she would be a 10.  A knockout!  If this indie were a Broadway show, it would feature a talented cast of thousands.  If this indie were a hotel, it would be a 5-star (and it would be too expensive for me to visit!).  I think you get my drift.  A fine store with fine people and a long, solid history of selling books.

This truly is an attractive store.  Well organized with lots of little nooks and crannies.  Everything is on one level but they have quite a bit of space.  There aren't many sidelines here, but John E., the owner, told me he'd rather not add many sidelines.  He does make an exception however, by offering an extensive inventory of signed 1st editions.  He considers this his best sideline business.  There is also a good selection of regional interests books and if you're looking for collectable books, check out what they have.  The store is very active with author events held at the warehouse location in the same area (I thought this was actually the bookstore when I arrived.  Long story, don't ask!).  Business has been down slightly but thanks to a devoted local customer base, it is holding steady.

As with all indies, each one has its own unique challenges and Lemuria is no different.  Part of their budget covers a security guard that makes $50,000/year, an expense that many other indies don't incur.  At this indie though, it's an investment against the possibility of losses that could be greater than $50,000.  Another challenge is the continued growth of the business.  This store is located on a frontage road along I-55 making foot traffic minimal at best.  Lemuria has to rely on customers who are willing to drive here.  Unfortunately, due to the crime rate in Jackson, many are not willing to visit here.  Readers, I am telling you this as clearly as I can, do not let a drive or misperceptions keep you from visiting this bookstore.  The store has been here for 27 years (and in business for 40 years).  You can't afford to miss this place because that longevity means John and his staff know what they're doing!

And this store's staff is the cast of thousands.  As far as I can tell, John has surrounded himself with lots of talent.  Justin, who is able to give excellent directions over the phone to a lost customer (me!).  Elizabeth and Marianna who continued to try and sell me books all the way to the end of my visit.  Hannah, who took care of The Indie Bob Spot photo shoot.  Maggie, who says The Fifth Gospel is a recommended read and also showed me the deluxe bathroom ( remember, Amazon doesn't have bathrooms), wall-papered with employees pictures past and present.  Everyone in the store who says the new book by M. O. Walsh, My Sunshine Away is a "must read."  And the two wonderful ladies in the children's section whose names I didn't even get but sold me the new Kate DiCamillo book, Flora & Ulysses, that I'm looking forward to.  Bravo John, for a great store and your wonderful staff.

What else?  Free parking and no cat.  That's a win-win in my book!  But YOUR book can be found at Lemuria Books in Jackson.  There's a reason it's featured in My Bookstore, by Ron Rice.  When you visit, you'll see why.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Team Of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin.  Outstanding.  True account of Abraham Lincoln and his rivals for the 1860 Republican nomination and how those rivals became assets in his administration.  For anyone with a passing interest in history, this is a must read.  Doris Kearns Goodwin is an outstanding historian and author who I think is brilliant.  Her research is impeccable.  Highly recommended but I know not everyone will like this one.  A Doubtful Guest, Edward Gorey.  Short, illustrated book of a story told with rhymes.  If you're looking for a great 5 minute read, this is it. Exactly what I needed after Team Of Rivals.

CURRENTLY READING:  A Civil Action, Jonathan Harr.  So far so good.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Nothing Gold Can Stay, Ron Rash.  Flora & Ulysses, Kate DiCamillo.

This is not the bookstore.  This is the warehouse and also where author events are held.  I did everything I could to figure out how to get in here until an employee came out and had pity on me and told me where to go.  To the bookstore.  

View to the right from the entrance.  There is another entrance directly into the children's section from the parking lot.  

View just inside the entrance.  You'll be purchasing your books at that counter on the left.  

One of the book aisles.  

Find your Mississippi Delta blues CD here.  

My kind of seat!

Further into the store and the help desk.  If you look real hard, you can see Marianna and Justin.  

Another view.  Very open area.  

Another GREAT place to sit and try out a book.  

If they have a book signing in the store, this is the area.  But if there isn't a book signing, this would totally be my hangout.  

Get your hip readers here.  

A nice picture book of Jackson, published by Lemuria.  If you live in Jackson, this book is a must.  

A portion of the children's section.  

More children's section.  There is an entrance right behind where I took this picture.  

With John, the fine owner of Lemuria Bookstore.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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