Monday, January 27, 2020

Novel Ideas Books & Gifts - Decatur, IL

Novel Ideas Books & Gifts, Decatur, IL
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Kim S. is the owner at Novel Ideas Books & Gifts and her story will sound very familiar to other indie owners.  Kim was in the corporate world before Novel Ideas was born when she met her future husband Mike who had a used book store in Arlington, VA.  A series of events, including marriage, led them to the heartland and Decatur, IL where they founded Novel Ideas Books & Gifts which has been enjoying a successful run for 25 years, 18 years in its current location.  As Kim told me, when they began the business it started out as an experiment (sound familiar, indie owners?).  And now 25 years later, Decatur enjoys a wonderful book and gift shop, the only one of its kind in a town of 70,000+.  After seeing this terrific shop, I'll go out on a limb and say the experiment is a success.

This one-level store with an expansive parking lot is in the near downtown area.  The store offers 20,000 new and used books and there are another 20,000 in the upstairs storage area.  Customers are offered trade or cash for the good used books they bring in.  They also offer a strong inventory of collectible and vintage editions that can be purchased in-store or on their online site.  The sidelines here were impressive and are definitely an important part of the business.  Everything from candles to jewelry and all that stuff in-between that you only see at independent bookstores.  The variety and volume of socks are outstanding.  Not only are these socks one of their bestsellers, but Kim told me socks sales saved the business during the recession.  The store doesn't have the available space for events but they have great options off-site at the Decatur Public Library right next door or at nearby Millikin University.

The store's success has come in part due to a famous local department store that closed and offered many of the items you can now find here including books and gifts.  They also enjoy the advantage of owning the building.  Their regular customer base is strong and they see lots of traffic from out-of-town customers as well.  What began as an experiment is now a solid member of the retail community in Decatur.  Enjoy a visit to this super indie and take time to congratulate Kim on an accomplishment that deserves to be recognized and acknowledged.  Congratulations Kim and Mike!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Golden Hill, Francis Spufford.  Didn't finish, couldn't get into it.  The story might be good but the writing style didn't work for me.  Set in 18th century Manhattan and the writing style was as if written during that time.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Some Autumn Days In Iowa, Frederick John Lazell.

Just outside one of the entrances is a great gathering space to use during nice weather.

There are two entrances to the bookstore.  The entrance seen in the picture at the top of this blog entry and the one pictured below.  The entrance pictured here has a great handicap accessible ramp.  Perfect for those customers as well as the UPS deliveries!
This is the other entrance.  The nice thing about this entrance is you'll be walking right into the room with $1 bargain books.  

An incredible exterior mural designed by a Millikin University student.  All are welcome here.  

This is the view from the entrance by the mural.  This is the bargain book room.

You might as well take this.  You're going to need it.  

After entering and walking through the bargain book room, this is the view looking into the remainder of the store.  

Looking to the left after coming through the bargain room.  

Lots of stuff for kids besides the games and toys.  

Appropriate winter wear.  

This is only a fraction of the socks available here.  

An incredibly comfy sofa to sample a book.  

Again, this wall of socks are only some that are available here.  They also have socks for kids.  

The store offers a variety of jewelry.  

I love these artistic figurines.  

From the above figurines, this one is called Treasure Chest for obvious reasons.  Clever.  

Lots of candles.

Just a few of the greeting cards offered.  

This would be a great catch for Charles Dickens fans.  

Nothing like a long wall of books!

Surely there must be some horticulture fans interested in these editions?  

You'll notice in this display a good selection of Packers items.  Kim is a huge Packer fan and you can be sure that she has curated these sidelines diligently.  

Well said.  

Music CDs can be found here.  

This beautiful ceramic horse sculpture is available for sale.  

Of course they have jigsaw puzzles.  

Kim has set up a great area to play with the games and activities.  Kids will love this store.  

View looking into the store from the patio/ramp entrance.  Some readers may recognize devoted staffer Michelle T. on the right pondering her purchase.  

With Kim, the fine owner at Novel Ideas Books & Gifts.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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