Friday, December 30, 2022

The Dusty Bookshelf - Lawrence, KS


The Dusty Bookshelf, Lawrence, KS

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

I was in Lawrence a few years ago and saw this bookstore from the outside and made a mental note that I needed to come back and visit when I had more time.  Finally, today was that day and boy am I glad I didn't forget this one.  An absolutely butt-kickin' used book store that has been rockin' it since 1996.  The vibe I had when I entered the store was it didn't feel like a typical used book store.  Neatly arranged in a large area with soft lighting and a carpeted floor gave it a sophisticated feeling.  Many attractive table displays throughout as well as multiple book nooks and comfortable places to sit and try a book.  Needless to say, this beauty is the kind of place a book lover could spend a half a day.

"I will wait on you, but I'm in no rush."
The Dusty Bookshelf offers all used books in this engaging space with an ideal location on Massachusetts St. in the heart of downtown Lawrence.  In addition to their regular customers they also attract staff, students, and parents from the Kansas University community, a benefit for any indie located in a college town.  The Dusty Bookshelf could easily become overrun with used books without some guidelines, e.g., no more than two boxes per visit.  In return, the store will offer cash or store credit but the store credit is a far better deal (if you're a regular, always take the store credit).  They will also gladly welcome donated books.  There are few sidelines except for some stickers, mugs, and bookstore swag.  It's mostly about the books here.

But if you don't come for the books or the sidelines, why even bother to visit?  That's easy.  As Shelby, one of the booksellers told me, many people come in to simply see Dinah, the bookstore cat.  When I entered the store, she was poised regally at the checkout counter as if to say, "I will wait on you, but I'm in no rush."  Don't worry, this bookstore is worth the wait no matter how long Dinah takes!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  A Murder Is Announced, Agatha Christie.  I've never read anything by this legendary author and decided to change that by reading this one, featuring  Miss Marple, one of her recurring characters.  An advertisement placed in the paper announces the time and place of an upcoming murder.  The local neighbors, being busy bodies, decide they need to be there to see if it really happens.  And that's when things get muddy and may not be as they seem.  Very British with a bit of humor. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Remainders Of The Day, Shaun Bythell. 


Full view of the storefront with an entrance on the left and on the right. 

You might as well start browsing before you enter the store. 

Display window featuring tempting buys. 

The bookstore has ample display window space. 

View looking into the beautiful interior from the right side entrance. 

View looking to the left from the right side entrance. 

View looking to the right from the right side entrance. 

One of the long book aisles. 

Take a chance and go for it!  You can even pick the genre of the mystery grab bag.  5 or more books for $20.  I love promotions like these. 

View looking over toward the left side of the store. 

A portion of the left side.  I'm really impressed with how pleasant the store interior appears.  It's even better in person. 

Pick a book from here and save the staff from shelving it. 

Mugs make for a great gift to go with the book gift purchase.

I bet Dinah fits in well at Halloween!

The store offers few sidelines but they do have an assortment of stickers and mugs.  I might suggest the Dinah Mite sticker with Dinah's picture. 

The store has little storage room so they make do with areas like this. 

Floor to ceiling books and don't forget to browse the ones at your feet. 

Partial view of the children's room to the rear left of the store. 

Overview of the back of the store and its width. 

The room at the rear right features history and other genres. 

Two comfy places to sit and sample a book. 

When you enter this book nook, there is enough space for your feet and discover books high and low. 

An overview looking from the back toward the entrance on the right side. 

It is usually pretty tricky for me to get a good picture of any bookstore cat.  Obviously, Dinah has experience doing photo shoots. 

With Shelby, one of the fine booksellers at The Dusty Bookshelf.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Friday, December 23, 2022

Monarch Books & Gifts - Overland Park, KS


Monarch Books & Gifts, Overland Park, KS

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If you read nothing else about this wonderful bookstore, read and understand the following.  The name of this store is Monarch Books & Gifts, not The Green Door.  For new customers, your GPS may say The Green Door but rest assured that is definitely the location, just no longer the name.  Unbeknownst to owner Christin, the original name of this store attracted some rather nefarious customers because of the connotation of green doors to adult films in the 70s.  Who knew?  In order to make things  perfectly clear, she changed the name to Monarch Books & Gifts to provide a new and fresh start for the business.  And that's the ONLY thing that changed.  Same terrific bookstore with the same wonderful people.

The business of Monarch Books has been around for about three years and I'm happy to hear that things are going very well.  A beautiful, expansive one-level space offering mostly new books with a few used and a myriad of sidelines.  The variety of sidelines are endless including stickers, magnets, Blue Q one-of-a-kind socks and oven mitts, mugs, and candles to name a few.  If you know a Travis Kelce fan (Kansas City Chiefs tight end) they even have a candle called Kelce's Cologne (I wonder if it smells like a locker room?  I digress).  The painting and decor in the children's section is outstanding and is an example of Christin's creative artistic talents that you can find throughout the store.

For only three years in business this indie is hitting all the marks.  Frequent events are held in the store hosting up to 50 people.  For larger events they have options for hosting at a local library.  They've already partnered with some local schools (the school librarians came to THEM!) and have been able to do some of the school book fairs.  What a great benefit for any bookstores who are able to do this.

Best of all, this store has the most delightful people.  Christin and bookseller Natalie are exactly the kind of people that make a perfect bookstore experience for any customer.  But I'm sure I don't have to tell the regulars this.  

If you're in the Kansas City area and haven't discovered this place, pay them a visit.  As I told Natalie, even if you're not a reader there's something here for everyone.  Remember the name and spread the word, Monarch Books & Gifts.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

 JUST FINISHED:  Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Mary Roach.  Meh.  A scientific look at sex presenting mostly trivial information and padded with jokes.  But, this author is pretty popular and gets good reviews from most people except me. 

CURRENTLY READING:  A Murder Is Announced, Agatha Christie. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  A Blue Q oven mitt. 

Beautiful storefront.  Ignore the sign.  The name of this indie is Monarch Books & Gifts. 

Admittedly, I can relate to this. 

Festive display window. 

If it were nice, you could sit here and enjoy a book.  And there's even a little bench for a little reader.  Nice. 

Find some bargains before you even enter the store. 

Looking into the store from the front entrance. 

Looking to the left from the front entrance.  Check out the book Christmas trees. 

Variety of gift ideas attractively displayed in the front of the store. 

Table display with a holiday touch. 

View looking into the children's area on the right side of the store. 

Some of Christin's creative talent.  Impressive.  

Beautiful work, Christin.  In the children's area. 

A couple of customers who've been in the store for awhile. 

Variety of mugs near the front entrance. 

A comfortable seating area in the center of the store. 

The bookshelves on the left wall of the store offer lengthy browsing. 

A very unique bookend. 

If you know any Kansas Jayhawk fans, this book is a must. 

These literary-themed candles are popular in many bookstores. 

The store carries an assortment of unique socks. 

After you're done browsing the left wall, head over to the right wall of bookshelves. 

Just a few of the stickers available.  More at the checkout counter. 

I love these quirky socks.  

Kelce's Colgne.  If you're a Kansas City Chiefs fan you know who I'm talking about. 

Christin's artistic talents are displayed throughout the store. 

I have found bookstore people are quite creative. 

This would be a fantastic gift for a Patrick Mahomes fan. 

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

Look at the ceiling in the store and you'll see many book titles painted on the tiles by high school students

If you're going to browse, take a coffee with you. 

With Natalie on the left and Christin on the right, two of the fine people you'll meet at Monarch Books & Gifts.  Thanks for a great visit.