Monday, February 29, 2016

Next Page Books - Cedar Rapids, IA

Next Page Books - Cedar Rapids, IA
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Readers, this blog entry is not about a bookstore I've never visited.  Consider this entry more of an update about a hometown store that has undergone a change in ownership.  This bookstore has been around for about 4 years, first as Newbo Books, then Next Page Bookstore, and now Next Page Books (Bart C., the new owner, tells me that the slight name change is just because its easier to answer the phone, "Next Page Books," instead of, "Next Page Bookstore).  So yes, Bart C. is the new, proud owner of this indie and is going on his 3rd month of ownership.  January and February can be tough times for midwest bookstores but this store has held its own and with the coming of spring right around the corner is optimistic for an uptick in business.  As the independent bookstore movement continues to show growth, that feeling is shared by Bart here at Next Page Books.  The store is still in its great location, the historic CSPS Building in the Newbo District.  This business benefits greatly by being surrounded by many other independent businesses.  In fact, survival would be difficult without their presence.  It continues to offer a solid inventory of books in a small one-level setting.  What this store lacks in space it makes up for in charm to the nth degree!  And as Bart told me, some customers prefer visiting this smaller size compared to a large chain store.  The sidelines have been expanded just a bit and are also helping to improve the business.

I think Bart is doing a great job of increasing the store's visibility in order to attract more customers.  Community outreach in the neighborhood, advertising in the local flyer, increased social media presence, and a great partnership with the next door coffee house, Brewhemia, are all helping improve the brand.  The store continues to schedule author events and has space flexibility for these within the CSPS Building.  In short, he's doing all the things that all successful indie owners are doing.

Thanks to this great location, the store attracts lots of out-of-towners who visit the Newbo District, especially on weekends.  There are also many professionals in their 20s and 30s who move in to the area and are aware of the importance of local independent bookstores and are finding their way here.  I know all of the staff here including Amy, Jody, and Julie, as well as Bart.  Whoever you meet when you visit, you'll enjoy a 5-star bookstore experience.

So Eastern Iowa, what are you waiting for?  If you've never been here you're 4 years late to the party. For shame!  Excuse my French, but get your a##es in gear and support your local independent business.  This bookstore and the district where it is located are gems.  Grab a friend and check it out.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Room, Emma Donoghue.  Woman and her 5 year-old son are imprisoned in a one-room enclosure, held by the man who sexually abused the woman.  Escape is impossible.  Or is it?  Creepy subject, fantastic book.  Highly recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons.

Looking through the store from the front entrance.  That's Bart on the right.  Check out the ceiling.  I love those old ceilings in historical buildings.  

Looking to the left from the front.  Start browsing your fiction here.  

They have chocolate!

A few of the greeting cards available.  

They also carry boxed sets of greeting cards and journals.  

A nice display near the entrance of recent releases.  

A portion of the children's section.  

Great places to sit and try out a book.  

A timely display for Black History month.  

Display of popular picks.  

Another nice view looking along the shelves toward the back of the store.  
Take a crack at progressive Scrabble.

View from the back of the store looking toward the front.  

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


  1. Point taken and I'll make a visit. Not today, snow fell last night (ugh!)

  2. Had the great pleasure to meet Bart during a recent visit to CR. We had a great conversations about bookstores, Cedar Rapids, the flood and, interestingly, The indiebobspot. Bart is a big fan, and I've enjoyed looking at older posts and re-discovering bookstores I've visited across the country, like Maple Street Books in New Orleans and Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis. You're doing a great thing, and I look forward to continued reading.

  3. Thanks for the shout out, Michael, and glad you’re enjoying the posts. Keep poking through the blog and you’ll probably find other bookstores you’ve visited. Bob