Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Eighth Day Books - Wichita, KS

Eighth Day Books, Wichita, KS

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How is it that I've been on this journey to 500+ bookstores and I haven't discovered Eighth Day Books until NOW?  After all, its been around for 30+ years and in its current location for 20 years so its not like I'm stumbling over a brand new business.  Thankfully, I finally made it here and was overjoyed with my experience and what I found.  Three levels of books living in a large historic house built in 1910 (no ghosts though, I asked).  I also found a welcoming owner and staff, stereotypical of almost all bookstore people I've met.  My only disappointment is it took me so darn long to get here!

Eighth Day has a definite niche among independent bookstores with its preference for what it stocks.  The mission here is to offer books in philosophy, classics, religion, literature, history, and more.  Owner Warren F. is very particular about what is put on the shelves here to the point of making sure whatever the customer selects it will be a winner.  Some might consider this short-sighted but business here is booming.  In fact, last year was their best year ever.  You'll find a mix on the shelves of about 2/3 to 1/3 new to used.  Many of those used books are simply donated which really keeps the overhead down.

Three things stood out to me here beyond the regular bookstore.  Firstly, the store began sending out mail-order catalogs way before the internet giving it a national footprint.  That decision dovetailed nicely into an internet presence that has been very successful.  Secondly, the store sends a team with books to various conferences around the country about 12 times a year.  These are usually very successful and well worth their while.  Lastly, they have a bathroom and there are books in it.  Ok, ok, I don't think they want you to read while you're in there.  It is just another area for storage and these books are used in partnership with a curriculum for a local school.

Best of all is meeting people like Warren and staffers like Nate and Matthew.  This is why you go to an indie, for this experience that you can't get online.  In Wichita, some people don't even know about this place yet.  Wake up, Wichita!  Don't wait as long as I did to discover this terrific place.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Memorial Drive, Natasha Trethewey.  Author's memoir of growing up in a mixed-race home with loving parents and relatives close by.  That changes as she enters adolescence and her mother's second husband becomes physically abusive to her and her mom.  The author struggles through many challenges and is left with a trauma that will likely never heal.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Haunting Of Alma Fielding, Kate Summerscale. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  How Iceland Changed The World, Egill Bjarnason.  Notre-Dame: The Soul Of France, Agn├Ęs Poirier.  Grant, Ron Chernow.  


There is a great parking lot behind the store with plenty of free parking.  Only one spot is reserved, just in case the ghost of Van Gogh comes to the store. 

The beautiful historic house that is Eighth Day Books. 

Your adventure is steps away. 

Looking into the store and to the right. 

Looking into the store and to the left. 

You'll see lots of iconography throughout the store. 

Overview of the main room on the left side of the store. 

Behind the main room is the checkout counter and some sideline items. 

Here's where you'll checkout with your purchase.  Make sure you look around in this area for any last minute impulse buys.  The store was busy on the week day of my visit as you can see by Warren scribbling down book orders. 

To the left of the checkout counter is a back room filled with books. 

Overview of the back room on the main level. 

Neat table display of signed editions. 

Head downstairs to find books for the young and the young at heart. 

Overview of the children's area.  This is a lower level downstairs. 

Go to the back of this lower level and enter what I call the tiny room, for even younger readers.  I had to duck to enter. 

Really young readers are going to love this area.  I couldn't stand up in this room. 

A few of the greeting cards offered. 

Here's my spot, just hand me a book. 

Many indies offer uniquely created store mugs like these. 

Looking through one of the long book aisles toward the front entrance. 

On the way upstairs to the 2nd floor you'll see this absolutely beautiful stained glass creation. 

Overview looking into the 2nd floor area. 

One of the several book nooks on the 2nd floor. 

A fraction of the items of local and regional interest. 

Another wonderful room on the 2nd floor. 

Visual confirmation of a bathroom.  It's well-stocked with books for school kids.  For crying out loud, don't touch!

2nd floor rooms.

3rd floor office and books waiting to find their temporary shelf assignments downstairs. 

The store offers many resources about the Orthodox religion and other religions as well. 

With Warren on the right, the fine owner at Eighth Day Books.  Thanks for a great visit.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Book ReViews - Newton, KS


Book ReViews, Newton, KS

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I've learned a lot on this bookstore journey and one of the things I've learned is almost every indie is rooted to its community by some kind of social advocacy or charity work.  I enjoy seeing all these actions at bookstores but I must say all those other indies pale in comparison to Book ReViews in Newton, KS.  This bookstore is a true service to the community, a proud non-profit staffed entirely by volunteers.  Since 2006, the store's proceeds have benefited 40+ organizations.  The store was founded in 1991 by a small group or Mennonites who place an importance on reading and higher education.  Since that time, this non-profit has donated $175,000+ to local charities.  In a community of approximately 20,000 (including North Newton), this is impressive.  Organizations that have benefitted include Meals On Wheels, Habitat For Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Offender Victim Ministry to name a very few.  Honestly, this is about way more than just a bookstore.  

As board president Steve S. told me, there's nothing fancy here.  Nothing sold online except through ABE, no scanners or chip readers (bring your cash), and only a few CDs and greeting cards for sidelines.  This is just a bare bones used book store.  You would think with a staff of volunteers it would be lacking in some ways.  This store doesn't have to take a back seat to any of my bookstore visits.  Excellently maintained and organized in a one-level, attractive interior.  Very comfortable.  With the Mennonite background in the community, there is a healthy section of religion but you will find all genres here.  How do they stock the store?  All books are donated and as Steve told me, the donations are plentiful and they don't have to solicit for them.

Yet, for as long as the store has been here many in Newton haven't patronized it.  What gives, Newton?  They have a great location right downtown on Main St. and even if you don't read, buy a book for a friend.  Your purchase will benefit YOUR community.  Want to take your support further?  They need volunteers so go to the store and inquire how you can help.  Who wouldn't want to work in a bookstore?!  Patronize this store with your presence, your purchases, or your time and be a part of a successful Newton fixture.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.  

JUST FINISHED:  Address Unknown, Kathrine Kressmann Taylor.  Originally published in 1938 and recently renewed, this very short work of fiction could be all too real.  The book is an exchange of letters between business partners, one Jewish in San Francisco and one living in Germany.  The letters exchanged describe the escalation of pre-war tensions in Europe and the growing disagreements of the once friends and business partners.  Thoroughly enjoyed this quick read.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Memorial Drive, Natasha Trethewey.

Beautiful storefront on Main St. downtown. 

Expansive window display space. 

I can verify that this is absolutely correct. 

In the entry way you'll see a detailed mural of a wall of books.  Behind this mural is the real thing. 

Come on Newton, this is a GREAT community resource thanks to the books they sell.  Definitely consider volunteering.

Looking through the store, front to back. 

Attractive display.  Used books that look like new. 

Have a seat and try out a book. 

Find this display just inside the entrance. 

By the time I got to the new arrivals some of them were already sold. 

The mission statement for this bookstore is beyond reproach.  If you're in Newton, take a look at this long list of beneficiaries and you might find one that has helped you.  Beyond impressive. 

Looking into one of the many book nooks. 

Book displays can be found throughout the store. 

Display of self-help and philosophy. 

Partial view of the children's section. 

Overview of the children's area complete with little chairs for little readers. 

A few of the CDs offered. 

I always like a book nook with a chair. 

An important section for many seniors who continue to value and enjoy reading.   

Overview of the religion and Mennonite room. 

The signs throughout the store make it easy to find your favorite genre. 

With Steve on the left and store manager Joe in the center, two of the fine people at Book ReViews.  Thanks for a great visit.