Thursday, May 20, 2021

The Bookshelf - Huntsville, AL

The Bookshelf, Huntsville, AL

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When I visit a bookstore like The Bookshelf in Huntsville, AL, I'm usually curious to know what their secret to longevity is.  Carolyn P. has been the owner for about 8 years and the store has been serving the Huntsville area for about 50 years.  This means the store has survived the economy crash in 2008 and most recently the pandemic.  When I asked bookseller Eleanor T. what their secret to survival is she answered without a trace of hesitation, "we offer good service."  As she told me, if it's not in the store they can order it.  During the pandemic, customers didn't have to enter the store to pick up their book orders.  For the indies who have succeeded for numerous years, the "good service" claim is one of the common characteristics.  Well done, Bookshelf.

This one-level store with multiple book aisles offers almost all used books with a few new ones.  It is very neatly arranged and organized making browsing very easy.  The store offers almost exclusively fiction with the exception of a few non-fiction books in the classics section.  For those customers who bring books in, they'll receive store credit.  During the time of my visit, there were many regulars coming in to take advantage of this deal.  Additionally, The Bookshelf carries a good variety of jigsaw puzzles.  These have sold especially well here during the pandemic as well as at many other indies.  They were so popular that some of the manufacturers of jigsaw puzzles couldn't keep up with the demand.

I didn't get to meet Carolyn on this visit but did meet Eleanor who was the perfect bookseller and bookstore rep to visit with.  Friendly, conversant, and knowledgeable.  She is one of the "puzzle pieces" responsible for the store's continued success.

This store is on a good run and there's no reason it can't continue.  But continual customer support and patronage is critical.  Regular customers, keep it up and bring a friend on your next visit.  A great place to browse and enjoy a half-day visit, just like me.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Overstory, Richard Powers.  This book gets lots of positive reviews but I lost interest about halfway through.  Begins as a series of short stories, each one involves the theme of a tree and how it impacted a family or a person.  Bottom line is there's more to a tree than meets the eye.  The author is definitely talented, but maybe over my head at times. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Known World, Edward P. Jones. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Mississippi Trial, 1955, Chris Crowe.  Dangerous Shadows, Dee Henderson. 

A beautiful view any book lover enjoys.  Looking into The Bookshelf from the front entrance. 

If you like mystery and adventure, go no further than inside the front door and immediately left. 

You'll also find the check-out counter immediately to the left with two solved jigsaw puzzles on the counter facing. 
Two great seats in the front of the store to sit and try out a book. 

This device in the front of the store will help you keep track of your spending.

If you know any Stephen King fans, send them here. 
One of my favorite things to see, a long wall of books. 
Many bookstores have told me that jigsaw puzzles have sold incredibly well during the pandemic.  It's no different at The Bookshelf.  They had trouble keeping them in stock. 

Only a few of the Julie Quinn books available. 

Book covers that became jigsaw puzzles.  

Partial view of the kid's area. 
These are only a few of the sale books here.  If you're on a budget, check these out. 
Overview of the store looking from the rear toward the front entrance. 
If you've never read this classic, it is a must read.  I know where you can get a copy. 
Check out the new arrivals near the front of the store and to the right after entering. 
Many readers enjoy audio books and you'll find an assortment here. 
Hey Outlander fans, pick up your next one here. 
No grocery carts here so maybe consider two baskets?!

With Eleanor, one of the fine booksellers you'll meet at The Bookshelf.  Thanks for a great visit. 

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