Monday, January 14, 2019

The Book Corner - Bloomington, IN

The Book Corner, Bloomington, IN
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Family.  Clearly and easily that is the story behind the success of this wonderful, long-running independent bookstore in Bloomington.  I heard it in the words from Patty W., the store manager, and witnessed it myself with the customers who came into the store on the day of my visit.  Not family in the biological sense, but family in the sense of closeness that a business develops over time.  Closeness with customers and the closeness of the relationships within a bookstore's staff.  The relationship of this bookstore with the community began back in December 1964 and has bloomed long enough to see 2nd generations of customers from the same families.  This strong, local customer base is what has enabled The Book Corner to endure, survive, and now with the renaissance of independent bookstores, thrive and prosper.  Way to go Book Corner and way to go Bloomington.

The one-level store has been in the same space the entire length of its run.  An excellent corner location on the town square.  Before becoming a bookstore, this space was home to a bank.  The Book Corner offers all new books and a variety of sidelines.  Patty told me that jigsaw puzzles and greeting cards sell especially well.  They also offer a good assortment of magazines and a variety of newspapers including the New York Times, right outside the front door.  I thought their section offering Penguin classics was outstanding.  They'll occasionally host authors for signing events right in the store but if they land someone who can bring in a big crowd, they have another option for hosting off-site.  Remarkably, the store sees lots of tourists and out-of-town customers, a nice complement to the local regulars.  

After meeting Patty and bookseller Kathy L., I can see why the store's sense of family is so strong here.  These two ladies are characteristically bookstore friendly and regular readers of this blog know how much I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate meeting these fantastic people.  I even got to witness one of the store's customer service perks of free gift wrapping (I wish every indie could do this).

Bloomington, IN is a college town home of the University of Indiana.  Next time you go to one of those Hoosier basketball games, allow yourself some extra time before or after to visit and enjoy a legendary bookstore.  If you haven't visited yet get with it, you're 54 years late.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Friend, Sigrid Nunez.  National Book of the Year award winner.  Work of fiction but it makes you wonder if there are threads of truth within.  A writer commits suicide and leaves behind a pet dog.  Nobody wants the dog but it ends up going to a female friend and colleague who had never owned a dog and was a cat person.  The friend takes the Great Dane even though she lives in a small apartment that doesn't allow dogs.  This sounds simplistic but the story is about way more than this.  It talks about suicide, grief, writing, and relationships.  For once, an award-winning book that I enjoyed.  Recommended.    

CURRENLY READING:  Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway.   

View from across the street.  Prior to 1964, this was a bank.  

Before you go into the store, look back over your shoulder at the beautiful government building in the town square.  

Front display window.  

Nationally recognized papers for sale outside the front entrance.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Some great cards available immediately inside the front door.  

Immediately to the right after entering is an attractive book display of bestsellers.  

These are 3-D pop-up greeting cards.  Very unique and something I have not seen in many bookstores.  

A very generous offering of magazines, located near the front of the store.

At the check-out counter, don't miss the large number of sidelines available.   

A good section of travel guides.   

A very nice section of nature books and materials.  

These are only a few of the jigsaw puzzles here.  You'll find them displayed throughout the store.  

A variety of journals can be found throughout.  

Partial view of the children's section.  

These are all the Penguin classics editions, found toward the back of the store.  If you can't find a worthy classic here, you're not trying!

Kids are going to love these.  

An overview of the store looking from the back in the children's section toward the front entrance.  

Indie customer service is fantastic.  

With Kathy, one of the fine staffers you'll meet at The Book Corner.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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