Sunday, September 30, 2018

M & M Books - Cedar Rapids, IA

M & M Books, Cedar Rapids, IA
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I've traveled far and wide, coast to coast, Canada and Mexico, and have had experienced the joy of seeing wonderful bookstores and meeting amazing people.  But this bookstore visit is especially exciting because it's in my hometown.  I don't have to tell Ursula L., the owner, that I wished I lived close enough to be a regular, something I tell many others.  I've spent countless hours in airports, and behind a steering wheel but this bookstore was less than 5-minute drive.  You haven't heard me tell you about it because it's a newbie and well, I've been on the road!  But this indie is a secret no more and the word will continue to get out.  This place is terrific and things are only going to get better.

This is actually my 2nd visit to M & M.  I first visited at their grand opening back in June but wanted to wait awhile before returning so I could get an accurate picture.  This store celebrates its one-year anniversary on Oct 1.  The business was formerly Basically Books, a largely paperback store offering mostly romance novels.  To say there's been an overhaul would be an understatement.  This one-level store offers an inventory of 40,000 new and used books (with another 15,000 in storage) of all genres.  Even more impressive is that they have this extensive inventory on their data base.  The store feels much brighter and cleaner than the previous business.  They also offer a rapidly increasing inventory of collectable and vintage books available for purchase via their website.  They are just starting to offer book purchases online and are optimistic for positive growth and success in this.  Customers can receive store credit for their good used books although many customers simply donate books to the store which is a great benefit to any indie.  In return, Ursula donates books they don't need to hospitals and assisted living centers, to name a few.  This is so indie!

Most successful indies offer a variety of in-store events and activities and M & M is no different.  As Ursula said, there are more local authors in this area than one would think.  In the summer months, they host a story time for kids.  The store is also host to several bookclubs.  The greeting cards are the only sideline of note but they're expecting to expand this part of the business in time.

Cedar Rapids is now fortunate to be the home of two independent bookstores, also claiming Next Page Books.  Ursula has big ideas for M & M and an excellent vision for future success and there is NO reason why this region can't support these two fine indies.  I'll expect to hear from many of my local friends and readers that you'll be paying a visit to M & M Books in the near future.  You'll have a great time meeting Ursula and discovering a wonderful bookstore right under your noses.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Shakespeare Requirement, Julie Schumacher.  Irascible Professor Fitger has been named the department chair of a small college English department.  All of the people in his department are just as odd as he is.  The economics department is looking to shove the English department into the basement of their shared building.  Nothing is state of the art and includes faulty air conditioning, crappy computers, and wasps.  An amusing look at academe.  Recommended.  I would also highly recommend this author's previous book, Dear Committee Members, which is another hilarious book featuring Professor Fitger.

CURRENTLY READING:  Behind Closed Doors, B. A. Paris.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Ol' Doc's Cornfield Chronicles, Myron Williams.  

This message sign outside the strip mall where M & M is located has made a huge difference in people finding out about the store.  

Another exterior view.  

The store has lots of display window space, this is just some of it.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  There are rooms on each side of the room at the main entrance.  

Every store and library I've visited in the last several weeks has had a banned book display.  

One of the displays of new September releases.  

If you're not browsing the books, consider a snack and a beverage.  Appropriately, M & M Books offers M & Ms.  

Now that banned books week is over, many stores will feature Halloween themed displays. 

An overview of the room on the left side of the store.  

M & M Books is named after Ursula's mom, Marilyn, and a niece, Meg.  

A partial view of the children's section.  

Another view of the children's section.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

No matter the price, you'll find some great buys.  

Some M & M customers enjoy finding "spicy" books.  This is their section, found in the room to the right.  

One long wall of books.  

There are several book aisles in the room to the right.  

The book aisle on the back wall.  

Or place an order for something they don't have.  

An overview of the store and the main room, looking toward the front entrance.  

Ursula's mom, Marilyn, was a huge mystery fan and these were some of her favorites.  

This sounds good to me!

The store is host to several book clubs.  Consider bringing yours here!

With Ursula, the fine owner at M & M Books.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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