Sunday, May 15, 2022

Dog Eared Books - Ames, IA


Dog Eared Books, Ames, IA

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Finally!  Way to go Ames!  for the past several years I've ALWAYS wondered why the heck Ames, IA didn't have an independent bookstore.  Medium-sized town, large university (Iowa State University), near Des Moines, but no indie.  Co-owners Ellyn G. and Amanda L. saw the same deficiency I did and they rectified it.  They didn't just barely "rectify" it either, they hit it way out of the frickin' ballpark.  I've followed Dog Eared ever since they opened a little over a year ago (congrats to another pandemic baby) and now I'VE finally had the experience you only get from a wonderful bookstore visit staffed by bookseller all-stars.  An afternoon enjoying the company of fantatsic bookstore people in an incredibly creative space worthy of awards (my pictures won't do it justice), browsing a space of well-organized books and sidelines, the option of enjoying a beverage and sitting leisurely in the cafe, and the comfort offered from a pet store dog that lives up to her name, Lovie.  Before opening this store, Ellyn and Amanda visited other indies for ideas and suggestions.  Those tables are going to turn and I can GUARANTEE that Dog Eared Books is already now that store that future bookstore owners will visit to see how it's done.  Well done, ladies.

The artistry of the interior is stunning, from the mural to the neon lighting, to the smaller effects around the store.  The large one-level space has a perfect location on Main St. downtown and is filled with mostly new books, some used, and a variety of sidelines.  I was really happy to hear that the store is doing very well primarily due to the sales of books, something not always true in bookstores with various sidelines.  There is a comfy and cozy furnished loft space available for group reservations and events.  The store is enjoying enough events to have an events coordinator and they also have 9 or 10 book clubs.  They are partnering with some university professors and departments and gradually hope to expand that relationship.

I knew I was going to be impressed but I was overwhelmed.  Readers, in time you can expect to see some national recognition for this store.  As Ellyn told me, they wanted to offer more than a bookstore, they wanted to offer something you can't get online, an experience.  Mission accomplished.  If you're anywhere near Ames, IA, waste no time in getting to this terrific new bookstore maintained and sustained by equally terrific people.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom At The End of The Civil War, Elizabeth R. Varon. For the Civil War buffs, this is a must read about the surrender of Lee to Grant in the small village of Appotmattox Court House.  Meticulously researched and covers the chronology prior to the surrender and then the aftermath including Lincoln's assassination and the plight of all Americans trying to recover from the devastating war years.  A good book, but it deserves careful reading. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Sooley, John Grisham. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Time Was Soft There, Jeremy Mercer.  The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles. 

View looking into the store from the front door on a very busy weekday afternoon. 

Looking to the right from the front entrance.  I love the neon lights signage throughout the store. 

If the morning was anything like the afternoon on the day of my visit, I can understand why Lovie was working on a nap!

The new releases display table is waiting for you just steps inside the store. 

Another view to the right of the front entrance and the staff recommendations. 

To the left after entering you'll find some great cafe seating. 

You can find bargains in almost every indie. 

A few of the sidelines available to the left after entering the store. 

The day I visited was a day of record heat.  This is a welcomed sight for customers. 

This is the mural on the length of wall behind the cafe.  You really need to see it in person to appreciate it.  This picture doesn't do it justice. 

A long wall of books on the right side of the store.  See all those cards hanging from the shelves?  Those are called "shelf-talkers" and they are more staff recommendations.  You'll find these in many indies. 

Travel books are a popular summer display. 

Display of store best sellers. 

If you're in the Ames area, check out the store book clubs.  They have many to choose from. 

Display table with various sidelines and books. 

The store has a strong dog theme. 

A few of the greeting cards available. 

This is the wall opposite the mural and it displays its own artwork. 

Look for these shelves to find a good used book. 

Partial view of the children's section. 

Shouldn't every Ames toddler have a Dog Eared onesie?

Another view of the children's area with theater seating. 

Toddlers are the perfect size to enter this magical room. 

Looking into the small room that is the perfect size for small readers. 

Bookstore owners will do anything to engage you in reading.  Like printing part of a book on the bathroom door. 

More creative artistry walking up the stairs to the loft. 

Overview of the loft, a beautiful room available for group reservations. 

Overview of the store from the upstairs loft. 

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

Stickers have been selling well in many indies. 

Make sure you ask Lovie to show you her favorite book!

Banned books are selling well everywhere.  Way to go, indies!

From L-R: me, Ellyn, Lovie, and Amanda, the fine folks you'll meet at Dog Eared Books.  Thanks for a great visit. 

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