Monday, April 12, 2021

Hooked On Books - Springfield, MO

Hooked On Books, Springfield, MO

(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

Readers, if you find yourself in a bookstore searching for a book but become distracted by a forest of greeting cards, puzzles, socks, fake mustaches, doggie toys, and pet rocks, take heart.  In Springfield, MO you can visit a no frills, all business, floor to ceiling in every aisle books, bookstore.  If you're a fan of bookstores and books this is your place.  As owner Tom told me, customers come from Springfield and all over the surrounding area.  If you're in this region looking for a good used book store with good prices and HAVEN'T been here yet, get with it.  This place has your name all over it.

Tom has been the owner here for 15 years but the store has been here for approximately 35 years, a remarkable achievement.  I'm even more impressed when he told me the past year has been very successful despite the pandemic.  The store sells all used books along with a few vintage and collectibles, but they don't really focus on that part of the business.  Customers are offered store credit or cash for the books they bring in, which can sometimes number in 100s/day.  Equally impressive is the fact that Tom has everything in the store on inventory.  The extremes of books acquired runs from the occassional donations to picking up 2000 well-cared for books at a house.  And keep in mind one more impressive nugget, no sidelines.  BOOKS.    

The store is located on the very busy Campbell Ave in The Villages shopping area.  I think this is a pretty good location but Tom wishes the store were placed a little further forward in the strip for visibility.  Don't worry Tom, the regulars know where you are and the people looking for bookstores will find you!

If you're passing through Springfield, vacationing in the Ozarks, or visiting one of the colleges, put this on your list of places to visit.  And all my regular followers know how much I enjoy easy parking.  Say it with me, "free and ample parking!"  Thanks to that, spend as long as you like at Hooked On Books.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.  

JUST FINISHED:  American Dirt, Jeanine Cummins.  Incredible story of a Mexican woman and her son who escape a mass shooting and begin a journey to el norte and America.  The people they encounter and the problems they face are numerous and their fear is constant.  Book of fiction but certainly threads of truth for many trying to escape escalating crime and the drug cartels in Mexico and Central America.  Be careful, parts of this very readable story will leave you breathless with sorrow.  Highly recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Baby, You're Gonna Be Mine, Kevin Wilson. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Cimarron, Edna Ferber.  The Man In My Basement, Walter Mosley. 

When you see this large sign along Campbell Ave, pull in.  You just found Hooked On Books

You can start browsing before you enter the store but I warn you, this doesn't even equal a fraction of what you'll find inside. 

View looking into the store from the front entrance. 

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  Get started!

Display of current releases directly to the left in the store. 

Great prices on Harry Potter. 

Not sure these shopping baskets are big enough but they will have to do!

On the far right wall in the front of the store you'll find a portion of the collectibles offered. 

An overview of the front of the store and the check-out counter. 

If I duplicated this picture several times, you would see similar aisles across the width of the store. 

If you know any Tom Swift fans, send them here. 

A splendid area to sit and test drive a few books. 

Display of store recommendations. 

This is George.  Look for him in one of the aisles to reach an upper shelf.

A great collection of Zane Grey editions. 

Find this wonderful nook in the left rear corner of the store. 

Floor to ceiling books mean you might need George's help. 

Dorothy Gilman fans will enjoy these. 

Are you kidding me?  .25 books?  If you're on a budget find this rack near the check-out counter. 

This is George's friend (sister? cousin? I wasn't clear on the relationship) Big Rhonda.  She has the same talent as George and helps you reach those upper shelves. 

With Tom on the left, the fine owner at Hooked On Books.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Black Dog Books - Zionsville, IN

Black Dog Books, Zionsville, IN

 (Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

Black Dog Books is located on Main St. in Zionsville, IN, not far from Indianapolis.  Talking to Rebecca, a bookseller, she said the area very much reminds her of being in a European town.  Historical buildings, narrow brick main street, and lots of small independent businesses.  I think this vibe matches the store perfectly, a structure built in the mid 1800s as a private residence.  A historical house that 10 years ago was condemned to death row and was going to be bulldozed in order to install a parking lot.  That is, until Tania R. came to the rescue and said, hold on.  You're not going to destroy this house and I'm going to turn it into a bookstore (this is what bookstore people do, the only thing missing was a cape and an "S" on her shirt).  So Tania, and her black dog Chloe, birthed this beautiful store and the business continues to grow and succeed, even through a 12+ month pandemic.  

If you know someone who is a reader and a history buff, bring them here.  This is a wonderful bookstore that anyone would enjoy, but I think history fans could spend hours here.  The store offers new, used, and rare and collectible editions.  For example, they have an autographed 1st edition of Bleak House autographed by Charles Dickens, available for $4500.  This is just the tip of the iceberg of the rare editions offered.  Black Dog sells some of these rare volumes on consignment, as items purchased at estate sales, or simply brought in by customers.  

There were some store events before the pandemic and there may be more in the future but are in no rush to do so.  They do enjoy hosting an annual story time on Oct 31 of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.  My one regret on this visit was not meeting Tania and current shop dog Sophie.  The original black dog that the store was named after was Chloe.

The fun thing about meeting so many bookstore people on my journey is finding more book suggestions.  But on this visit, Rebecca gave me more BOOKSTORE suggestions.  In Scotland!  She's originally from England and very familiar with the bookstores to visit in Scotland.  Needless to say, I left the store doing cartwheels.  Stay tuned readers, you never know.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.  

JUST FINISHED:  Cimarron, Edna Ferber.  I struggled with this.  Family moves from Wichita to Oklahoma and joins the land rush, late 1800s western.  Not much action but this book has received lots of publicity over the years as has the author.  Originally published 1929 and made into two movies. 

CURRENTLY READING:  American Dirt, Jeanine Cummins.

The beautiful historic exterior of Black Dog Books. 
A wonderful setting outside the store. 

Beautiful view along the front of the store.  My guess is that later in the spring when everything is blooming this will be very attractive. 

View looking into the store and slightly right. 

View looking to the left as you enter the store. 

A portion of the store to the left is dedicated to this art shop. 

If you're a medieval history buff, you'll enjoy seeing copies of these prints. 

The store offers a variety of maps, very unique. 

I love this picture.  This is Chloe, the original black dog in the name of the shop. 

Two really comfy chairs in the front room to enjoy sampling a book. 

Many independent bookstores embrace social causes in their communities.  It's no different at Black Dog. 

Found inside Bleak House by Charles Dickens, historical autograph. 

Here you go Dickens fans. 

Behind the counter you'll find many collectible and vintage editions. 

Another great picture.  Current shop dog, Sophie. 

Proceed to the right through the bookstore to the Indiana Room for local subjects and authors. 

After the Indiana Room you'll enter the children's room and this view of Pooh Corner. 

A comfy place to sit in the children's room and share a seat with a little reader. 

Get a black dog of Sophie at Black Dog. 

Continue through the house after the children's room and enter the the Bookstore Annex. 

If you know any Balzac fans, send them here. 

I don't think you can be a Lincoln scholar without this set. 

Visit this room and follow the arrows on the left side of the bookstore. 

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

Always, always, always, ask about gift certificates. 

An overview of the main front room. 

With Rebecca, one of the fine booksellers at Black Dog Books.  Thanks for a great visit.