Monday, January 25, 2016

Malvern Books - Austin, TX

Malvern Books - Austin, TX
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Readers, I'm afraid some of you will be disappointed with this indie but let me reassure you that there is no reason to feel this way.  As many booksellers encourage their customers to broaden their interests, that would be my advice to you about Malvern Books.  This store has a very specific niche and specific offerings.  You won't find Stephen King or Danielle Steele here, there are other indies for that.  Austin is a very literary community, home of the University of Texas which offers 2 MFA programs in writing.  Malvern Books wouldn't work just anywhere but it is a perfect fit in this community.

So what will you find at Malvern Books?  You will find new books of fiction and poetry only, published by independent presses.  They are bringing to you those great books waiting to be discovered that the masses have yet to grasp.  This is exactly what I like about this indie.  The majority of the books here you won't be able to find at large chains or elsewhere.  You'll also find a good selection of translations; those fiction and poetry works by foreign authors and translated into English.  In terms of book inventory, I would compare the emphasis here to that of City Lights in San Francisco, literary fiction and poetry.  Although, there is a big difference in the size of the two stores and depth of inventory.

Other than this specificity of genres offered, this indie shares many characteristics with all the other successful ones.  The store interior is quite beautiful and very neatly arranged.  They have a nice open space for events, readings, and book clubs.  They also carry a few sidelines that many others have including greeting cards, journals, and calendars.  You won't feel the least bit crowded when browsing and there are several places to sit and take your time.  There is plenty of free parking too, in a small lot right outside the store.

I didn't meet Dr. Joe, the owner, during my visit but had a great time talking to Fernando and Schandra.  I was surprised when Fernando told me the customer base is quite diverse in many ways and not dominated by the university community.  This should be a great sign for continued success.

Readers, when you visit here don't embarrass me by asking for Robin Cook, President Lincoln history, or the children's section.  None of that is here.  Instead, impress your friends by picking out a book they've never heard of and recommending they do the same.  Open your mind to some of the best authors and poets you've never heard of and enjoy a visit to this terrific bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Didn't.  Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel.  Historical fiction.  I had high hopes but it didn't grab me.  It became a slog so I bailed out.  BUT, there are MANY readers who thoroughly enjoy this one.  I'm just not one of them.

CURRENTLY READING:  In Wilderness, Diane Thomas.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Old Devils, Kingsley Amis.

View looking straight through the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the right of the store from the front entrance.  Head this way for poetry.  

Looking to the left from the front entrance.  These are some of the greeting cards available.  They also have t-shirts.  

Another view of the poetry section on the right side of the store.  

There are several great places to sit in the store and try out a book, this is one of them.  

A nice display of local interests and authors.  

Need a bargain?  Find this book cart!

There are a variety of journals and planners.  

Look for fiction in this area on the left wall of the store or have a seat at this table with your book club.  

Another view of the fiction section.  

View from the back of the store looking toward the front entrance.  Apologies for the lighting.  

Where else could you pick up a copy of The Progressive Populist?!

Attractive book display in the center of the store.  

With Fernando on the left.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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