Monday, August 30, 2021

The Book Seller - Grass Valley, CA


The Book Seller, Grass Valley, CA

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

Now THIS bookstore knows how to handle a pandemic!  I always ask during my visits, how did they do it?  As store manager Angie K. told me, "We have an amazing community."  I would agree with this since that has been one of the common denominators from the bookstores who got through this crappy health crisis.  But the Grass Valley community took it one step further with a local government that designated the bookstore as necessary education allowing them to stay open.  Boy, wouldn't every bookstore love a local government like this!  Then the community took it from there with voluminous online orders and a phone that rang off the hook.  I guess this shouldn't really surprise anyone.  After all, The Book Seller has been here since 1976 so I don't think there's any way the community would let it slip away.  Nicely done Grass Valley. 

This two-level bookstore has a perfect location right on the main street through downtown surrounded by a variety of many retail businesses.  The store offers all new books and quite the variety of sidelines.  Greeting cards, bookstore socks, unicorn snot (don't ask), and a toadstool stool that is selling very well.  The book thongs and pop-up flowers are also selling well (the unicorn snot has cooled off).  As Angie told me, the sidelines are important but books are probably 60-75% of the business.

The kid's section takes up the entire basement and is outstanding.  Colorful murals on all walls, a reading cave with the original aquarium, and a well-stocked book inventory.  If you know a kid in Grass Valley who hasn't been here yet, bring them here!  Kids will love this space.  This area is also designated for smaller in-store events.  For larger events, they have a new events center that they can use.  For now, all events are on hold including a regular story time and a gathering group for teen girls from disadvantaged situations, a terrific social outreach.

I didn't get to meet Kit H., the store owner during my visit but ALL of the Book Seller staff were just terrific.  Angie, the store manager was extremely thorough with all the store info and history.  Along with Jordan, Ava, Jessica and others, I don't know how anyone could walk away without a wonderful experience.

Grass Valley knows about The Book Seller but the rest of the country needs to discover it.  This place has it all and it's deserving of national attention.  But best of all, Kit has filled it with great people.  Check it out you'll be glad you did.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Giving A Damn, Patricia J. Williams.  Short book that ties much of our current racial issues way back to slavery and the problems ever since.  I really liked this book even though at times it got a little over my head.  Those who need to read it won't.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Monk Of Mokha, Dave Eggers. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Hatchet, Gary Paulsen.   

Beautiful display window with lots of book ideas. 

One of my favorite signs when I visit bookstores. 

View looking directly into the store from the front entrance. 

Looking to the left from the front entrance.  This is where you'll check out with your book buys. 

Fantastic display on the right wall just inside the store. 

Table display in the front of the store with recent releases. 

Genre signs throughout the store. 

Just a few of the items of local interest or by local authors. 

There is some great mural art work up above the front display window.  This picture doesn't do it justice so just visit The Book Seller and enjoy this as part of your experience. 

View along the left wall of book shelves. 

Local nature. 

Of course they have quirky bookstore socks.  These make great gifts. 

Variety of boxed notecards. 

A very timely and relevant book for this region and the world. 

It doesn't surprise me that this is an award-winning bookstore.  Way to go Book Seller!

Head downstairs to the kids cellar. 

An overview of the lower level, devoted entirely to young readers. 

Some fantastic mural art work and again, this picture doesn't do it justice. 

I love this.  The reading cave for kids. 

Just a few of the greeting cards available and the pop-up flowers. 

Close-up view of the pop-up flowers. 
This polka-dot toadstool has been a big seller. 

Looking for that hard to buy for person?  Try unicorn snot!

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

This is the side entrance right around the corner from the main entrance.  This will enter directly into the lower level kid's section. 

Murals on the inside and murals on the outside. 

With Jordan on the left and Angie on the right, two of the fine people you'll meet at The Book Seller.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Winston Smith Books - Auburn, CA

Winston Smith Books, Auburn, CA

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

What a joy to meet wonderful bookstore owners like Glen and the customers in their stores.  And what a special treat to meet James Patterson during my visit to Winston Smith Books!  He even took the picture of Glen and myself.  (Ok, ok, not the AUTHOR James Patterson.  Local citizen and avid reader James Patterson)  I also met an artist who lives locally but has some national renown.  Frank was responsible for some of the Star Wars artwork.  What do these people have in common with other indie owners and customers?  THEY'RE DARN NICE PEOPLE!  How lucky I am to enjoy this journey and meet people like these on my visit to Auburn.  My point?  If you're not visiting Winston Smith Books or your local bookstore you're really missing out.  

Glen came to this business from a job that was slowly deteriorating his health, physically and emotionally.  He made the decision to leave the insurance business and start his own business if he could just find the right one.  Finally, a bookstore business in Auburn was put up for sale and Glen KNEW this was exactly the business he was looking for.  Bookstores have saved many people, add Glen to the list.  Winston Smith has been here for about 18 years and Glen has been the owner for just under 5 years.  Conveniently located in downtown Auburn for all 18 years and easily accessible from I-80 for travelers, Winston Smith offers 45,000 books with mostly used and just a few new.  There are few sidelines so the success of the business hinges on the books.  I was so happy to hear Glen's one word response when I asked how things are going now since the pandemic.  "Great!"  This is especially impressive considering the store has little online presence at this time.  But he knows his customers and knows what to stock.  While I was there a customer came in and purchased two Rumi books and this is one of the popular poets here.

Glen enjoys many local regulars as well as tourist regulars.  Some customers come from San Francisco and many of the nearby western states.  He'll see many of these tourist regulars when they return time and again.  I-80 makes this very easy for those customers.

If you live in Auburn and haven't met Glen or been to the store, honestly, I can't believe it.  There is a depth and breadth to the inventory that will have something for everyone and every interest.  Don't believe me?  Check it out and see.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

 JUST FINISHED:  Let Me Tell You What I Mean, Joan Didion.  Collection of essays dating back to 1968.  I wanted to read something by this author but I think I picked the wrong one to begin with.   Maybe better suited for readers who enjoy this author and haven't read this one yet.  An obviously gifted writer but this didn't resonate with me at all. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Giving A Damn, Patricia J. Williams. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  1984, George Orwell.  One piano book and one guitar book.  

Another angle of the beautiful storefront. 


A sunny day provides the glare in an attractive display window. 


Begin your browsing before you enter the store. 


View looking into the store from the front entrance. 


View looking to the right from the front entrance. 


Always ask your independent bookstore about these. 


Good idea. 

Everything book you need to be an active tourist. 


The store offers a few greeting cards.  Just about the only non-book thing here. 


Hey guitar players, I found lots of options for you. 


Just a few of the books of local interest or by local authors. 


Honestly, I think this is a beautiful sight!


These are only a few of the classics you'll find here. 


Here you go, collectors. 


Ask to see the vintage and collectible editions. 


Lots of books of local interest. 


Is it possible for a person to travel the country with a large personal library and then trade their books in here?  Asking for a friend. 


Mark Twain fans should definitely visit here. 


Partial view of the children's area. 
The left side rear of the store.
There's an upstairs balcony area waiting for you. 

Overview of the balcony level. 

The money shot.  Overview of the store from the balcony looking toward the front door. 


With Glen on the right, the fine owner at Winston Smith Books.  Thanks for a great visit.