Sunday, May 16, 2021

South Main Book Juggler - Memphis, TN

South Main Book Juggler, Memphis TN

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Honestly, after meeting Jean, the owner at South Main Book Juggler and listening to her store's history over the past 8 years I'm impressed that they're still here!  They opened their bookstore in downtown (South Main Historical District) Memphis because the trolley stopped near the store.  Perfect location, right?  6 months after opening the trolley ended.  This was JUST the beginning of the headaches that included multiple years of on and off construction.  There was even construction on the street outside of the store on the day of my visit.  And then the pandemic hit.  Thanks to a grant from The Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC) and a little help from the city and state, this indie has done more than survive.  Last March was the store's best month ever and they're now doing reasonably well.  Memphis is an attractive tourist destination and now those traveling customers are beginning to return.

 As Jean told me, South Main Book Juggler is a true neighborhood bookstore.  She and her husband moved to this neighborhood and she wanted to contribute something to this area and they decided to open a bookstore.  Her background in bookkeeping and accounting (a plus for the business) led to the name "Book Juggler".  The store is surrounded by downtown residents making their location ideal.  Book Juggler offers mostly used books along with some new.  There are also vintage and collectible editions available.  If customers bring books in, Jean will simply buy them if she's interested.  Most of the sidelines consist of art, jewelry, and pottery to name a few.  All created by local artists.

For me, the best thing here was all the Memphis-centric books.  Books about Stax Records, Elvis, Sun Studio, Beale Street, and the history of the blues and its performers.  You'll find books here on these subjects that will be hard to find elsewhere.  If you have any interest at all in these Memphis subjects, this is your place.

Memphis is a tourist destination for many reasons.  When you visit here, put this neighborhood and its terrific bookstore at the top of your list.  Graceland?  Bah.  South Main Book Juggler?  Sign me up!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Deacon King Kong, James McBride.  1969, Brooklyn, NY and the year of the amazing Mets.  But drugs are encroaching into the housing projects and it affects all of the colorful characters.  Multiple characters with several sub-plots going on.  The old crotchety church deacon shoots one of the young neighborhood drug dealers which triggers events for everyone in the book.  The connections between all the characters revealed by the end of the book are incredible!

CURRENTLY READING:  The Overstory, Richard Powers. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Respect Yourself: Stax Records And The Soul Explosion, Robert Gordon.  Memphis Rent Party, Robert Gordon. 


Beautiful exterior of a historic building.  Jean is waiting outside for your arrival!


Meet your peeps under the Book Juggler window.


View looking into the store from the front entrance.  What this store doesn't have in width it makes up for in length. 


View looking to the right from the front entrance. 

Find a book to sample and grab a comfy seat here in the front of the store. 
One of the stores' strengths are its books of local interest and by local authors. 
Like many other indies, sidelines offered are often created locally. 


Looking for a collector's item newspaper?  Read about this dark day in Memphis history. 

The locally created art here is fantastic. 
Get your Book Juggler t-shirt.
Look for these on the bookshelves to locate your author. 


I agree with several of these super store favorites. 


Overview of the store looking from the back toward the front entrance. 


You'll see talented art in the book nooks like this. 


Find these shelves for a rare or vintage edition. 

For Elvis fans, this store is a must visit. 


With Jean, the fine owner at South Main Book Juggler.  Thanks for a great visit. 

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