Friday, April 29, 2022

A New Chapter - Lewisburg, WV


A New Chapter, Lewisburg, WV

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So, you want to open a bookstore?  Ok, here's what you do.  Decide if you have the determination and wherewithal David and his wife did when they opened A New Chapter.  Move from your home to a small town where nobody knows you.  Make sure it's no larger than approximately 3000 people.  Pick out a random empty store for sale and declare, let's buy it and open a bookstore.  Make sure you're old enough to be retired from your professional career that has nothing to do with bookstores.  When your store opens your credit card reader doesn't work and you have no back-up so your only way to make a sale is to accept cash only.  Naturally, nobody has cash and many customers were ready to buy books.  So the owner tells the customers, take the books and come back and pay me later.  WHAT?!!  Yes, just take the books and pay later.  David's faith was rewarded and all the books were paid for.  Brilliant move not taught in any business classes.  Try that one in NYC.   

And now A New Chapter is 4 years old in a great corner location downtown, diagonal from the visitor's center.  This beautiful space offers all new books and a good variety of sidelines including greeting cards, goofy socks, and unique designer bow ties made of feathers.  The store used to only offer puzzles during the holidays but they sold so well they're now offered year round.  They offered curbside service during the pandemic and as David told me, if people will go pick up a pizza, they'll do the same for a book.  Spot on.   

Harper is in a bookstore surrounded by loving fans, escape is futile. 

David's second best decision after opening the store was to bring on Shaye as the store's co-owner.  She is doing a great job with social media, curating the shelves, events, and future store plans.  When David brought Shaye on board it included the bookstore dog in training, Harper. What a loveable, friendly store mascot.  Events are held in the store or at the nearby Carnegie Hall for larger crowds.  The store is also in the process of acquiring a wine license so expect to see that served in the store sometime soon.  Best of all, the store has seen  continued monthly growth ever since opening, thanks to tourists and locals alike.  

Harper was born to do this.  She's already got the nice and friendly part down. 









 Have you seen those state best bookstore lists that come out periodically?  In West Virginia, this store needs to be ranked highly on the list.  The state has some fine independent bookstores, but not many better than this.  Enjoy this gem, Lewisburg.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.  

JUST FINISHED:  The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, Annie Kagan. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Authenticity Project, Clare Pooley. 


A great corner location on the busiest street in town. 

Lots of window display space. 

Well said. 

View looking into the store from the front entrance. 

Looking to the right from the front entrance. 

A welcomed display for people who sit on their reading glasses or sunglasses. 

Looking to the left from the front entrance. 

Several sideline items located near the front of the store and on the left. 

Get one of these cards and then take it home and plant it.  Watch what happens. 

Just wait until you meet this charmer.  Notice the blurred tail?  She's always happy!

Bookstore candles can be found here. 

Display of new releases. 

Bookstore socks sell well in every indie I visit. 

Regional display of children's books. 

When Harper isn't selling books, she's playing.  Or napping. 

A wonderful promotion I've seen in many stores. 

This is what one of the "blind date" books looks like. 

Yes, you'll need one of these totes for all the books you'll get. 

Jigsaw puzzles are a popular seller. 

Harper takes a break.  Some of you will undoubtedly recognize the hand of Indie Bob's director of operations, Michelle T. 

A New Chapter has an active events schedule. 

Overview of the children's area. 

You'll find the children's section in the right rear corner. 

Gamers will like this section. 

They also have "blind date with a book" for YA readers. 

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

Yes, another picture of Harper because she's irresistible. 

You might as well enjoy a coffee while you're here. 

There are a wide variety of wonderful sidelines throughout the store. 

From L-R:  Shaye, Harper, and David, the fine folks you'll meet at A New Chapter.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Inklings Used Books - Sheboygan, WI

Inklings Used Books, Sheboygan, WI

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The word "Inklings," comes from a group of British authors who used to gather as a group for discussion and conversation.  Amy B., the store manager, told me that she doesn't have a store mission statement but she felt that the "Inklings" who gathered as authors should extend to readers.  To visit a bookstore, even if you don't buy anything, is to experience joy, an uplifting of spirit, and leaving with a better overall feeling.  I couldn't agree more and this is what I've been trying to convey from my 494 previous bookstore visits  And even though those previous 494 might not articulate it like this, they would all agree with this if it were indeed the mission statement.  Just like all my other visits, it gave me the same boost after leaving Inklings Used Books in Sheboygan.

Inklings Used Books is the continuation of a bookstore named Dear Old Books that was located in nearby Plymouth.  The business relocated to an attractive area along the Sheboygan River thanks to Amy's mother Lois who is the store owner.  They've been open less than a year and they haven't even held their grand opening yet.  When you visit here you'll find a well-organized, expansive one-level with a great view of the river.  The store offers all used books, some vintage and collectible editions, a few antiques, and some locally made crafts.  This is something Amy hopes to expand in the future.  Lois isn't involved in the day to day operation but enjoys picking up books at garage sales and estate sales.  For customers who bring books in, they'll receive store credit.  They have an especially good children's aisle that includes many older works like The Wizard of Oz series and the Mary Poppins series (yes, this is a series).  Most of the books available here are for $6 or less, very affordable.  

This location is a vibrant summer tourist area but local customers are still finding out about Inklings.  Surprisingly, many of the regulars from Plymouth haven't discovered Inklings yet.  Good grief, its only a stone's throw away!  Don't let the new name fool you.  Resume your regular customership and enjoy a visit to a wonderful bookstore and a terrific manager (and a recovering English teacher!) who will leave you with that joyful Inklings spirit after your visit.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed, Helene Tursten.  Maud reminisces about a series of events as she travels from her home in Sweden for a vacation in South Africa.  She's 88 and usually up to no good, especially if she thinks you're an idiot or a bad person.  I enjoyed this book and also would recommend, An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good by the same author. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, Annie Kagan. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Reader, Bernhard Schlink.  Warmed By Windchill, Jeffery L. Tucker.  Three Comrades, Erich Maria Remarque.  The Horse Lover, H. Alan Day. 

This picture shows the store exterior, located in the left building. 

This entrance is between the two attached buildings.  Enter here...

...then enter through this door immediately to the left and you'll be in the bookstore. 

Check out the store hours. 

In the hallway outside of the bookstore you'll see the sign from the bookstore that was in Plymouth, Dear Old Books.  This is the same bookstore, different name. 

View looking into the store from the entrance.  After you enter through here there are two sections of the store, one to the left and one to the right. 

This is the section of the store to the left.  Originally, the store was going to be in this space only.  But they were able to get the room to the right (seen below) for a very good deal.  
This is the section of the store to the right. 


Locally made candles, just inside the front door. 

Is the book better than the movie? 

Find out about the Inklings, a group of British authors that inspired the stores' name. 

Do you know someone who enjoys JFK collectibles?  Send them here. 

Some of the local crafts offered just inside the front door.  Amy is hoping to expand this part of the business. 

If you know any Teddy Roosevelt history buffs, send them here. 

Another view looking into the room on the right. 

The store carries some used comic books, especially Superman. 

If you want to read in German, Inklings has you covered. 

A wonderful place to sit with a book and a view. 

If you're interested in British Lit, you'll find it here. 

Before I began this journey, these were the books that kept me busy. 

I could get comfy here trying out a book. 

Looking across the bookstore from the right room to the left room. 

Consider a goal of reading the Harvard Classics. 

An overview looking toward the entrance while Amy fills a book order. 

Just a few of the vintage books available. 

With Amy, the fine bookstore manager at Inklings Used Books.  Thanks for a great visit.