Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Mostly Books - Tucson, AZ


Mostly Books, Tucson, AZ

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For the uninformed, the stereotype of one who works in a bookstore is that they get to read all the time.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  On the day of my visit, store manager Jody and bookseller Melissa were swamped with shelving, filling orders, and helping customers.  Additionally, Jody was busy with countless clerical and administrative tasks that need continual attention, as any bookseller knows.  I mention this in appreciation of Jody who despite all this was able to kindly answer my barrage of questions about Mostly Books with patience and calm.  I'm so appreciative of these people who aptly share a little of their time to help me with these write-ups.  Thank you, Jody!

Mostly Books has definitely got things figured out.  They've been in business for 34 years, all in their original space in Monterey Village.  The long, narrow one-level space is arranged to include new and used books and numerous sidelines, an important part of the business.  Customers who bring in books can receive trade in return.  They aren't able to take book donations because of space limitations.  You can find the used books shelved together by genre toward the back of the store.  As for sidelines, you can easily find a gift or something for yourself.  Greeting cards, mugs, lots of magnets, stickers, jewelry, literary-themed teas, t-shirts, and much more.  They were fortunate that they didn't have to shut down during the pandemic and survived by filling online orders, phone orders, and offering curbside pick-up with designated parking.  For customers visiting from out-of-town like myself, I NEVER underestimate the importance of free and easy parking in large cities like Tucson which is exactly what you'll find here.

Mostly Books success and resiliency is all the more impressive when you look down the shopping strip a few businesses and see a large independent chain bookstore.  But don't be distracted.  Mostly Books offers that personal touch that is sometimes hard to find in those larger stores.

If you live in the Tucson area and haven't discovered Mostly Books yet, wow, you are 34 years behind.  Pay a visit to this indie and I guarantee you'll be able to find something before you leave.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Live Wire, Harlan Coben.  I thoroughly enjoy this author and have never been disappointed.  This novel features Myron Bolitar, a sports agent and recurring character who ends up acting more like a private investigator solving crime.  Myron is trying to find his long lost brother, save his clients from drugs and worse, and dealing with organized crime.  This author is always a palate cleanser for me and is very readable.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING: Firekeeper's Daughter, Angeline Boulley. 

One of the many strategies at Mostly Books to navigate the pandemic.  Many bookstores offered this. 

Find out what the cool kids are reading at Mostly Books. 

Lots of display window space. 

If they don't have your book in stock, they'll order it for you. 

View looking into the store from the front entrance. 

Head over to the right wall of the store and enjoy this view. 

View looking straight down the middle of the store. 

Arizona Wildcat fans this is a must read.  Trivia question:  Where was Lute a legend before coming to Arizona?  The University of Iowa.

Find your Valentine a gift and a card all in one stop. 

Then get the gift bag at the checkout counter. 

The varieties of magnets and stickers are endless. 

One of the many book nooks. 

Outlander fans might want to get their hands on this. 

Almost every indie offers items for any budget. 

I love all the quirks and oddities I discover on bookstore visits. 

The answer is yes, you'll need this. 

Partial view looking into the children's room. 

Head to this back corner of the store and discover an assortment of used mysteries. 

Keep going, there's more books. 

Another room to discover in the back of the store, especially for romance fans. 

I always enjoy seeing what the local book clubs are reading. 

I know many senior citizens who are appreciative of stores with large print sections. 

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

You'll find a variety of mugs here. 

Literary teas. 

You'll be able to find a gift for just about anyone. 

The store has an extensive inventory of greeting cards. 

With Jody, the fine store manager at Mostly Books.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

The Book Shop - Green Valley, AZ

The Book Shop, Green Valley, AZ

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I continue to advocate, plead, and rant that there is no better book-buying experience than one can have when you visit your local independent bookstore.  I also know that this opinion and write-up is preaching to the choir since most of you do this.  But this bookstore visit was just one more in a long line of examples why visiting a bookstore is better than buying online.  If you buy your books online you don’t get to meet fascinating customers like Sonja, a regular at The Book Shop.  Sonja is 92 and grew up in Dutch Indonesia.  She missed three years of school due to the Japanese occupation in WWII.  She talked about her American experience and said she still doesn’t get some “Americanisms.”  She also noted that for some, The American Dream is an American Nightmare.  A wonderful person to meet, visit with, and learn why we shouldn’t take so much for granted.  My mom would’ve loved meeting her.

After visiting The Book Shop and meeting owner Dianne S., I can understand why Sonja is a regular.  This indie is a one person operation and it’s because of Dianne that it continues to succeed.  Way to go Dianne! The Book Shop offers new and used books in a compact space that has excellent organization.  Dianne deferred credit for this to the store’s original owner, Corrine, who started the business in 1996.  Customers who bring their books in can receive store credit for trade.  Since the store has a great many regular customers who are snow birds, these books come into the store from all over the country creating a broad inventory of genres and interests.  There are only a few greeting cards here for sidelines so the success of the store is dependent on book sales with active shoppers.

One of their promotions here are their book rentals.  If you see a new release or popular book you would like to get but can’t afford to purchase, consider renting it which is much cheaper and more affordable for some.  I think this is a great idea.  

For my readers who are enduring harsh Midwest winters, I have some advice.  Follow your snow bird friends south and then follow them to The Book Shop in Green Valley.  You can enjoy books, nice customers, and a knowledgeable and friendly owner.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Carthage, Joyce Carol Oates.  

CURRENTLY READING:  Live Wire, Harlan Coben. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Rules of Civility, Amor Towles.  

Another view on a beautiful day. 
You'll be anxious to start the book you bought so have a seat here, enjoy the sunshine, and get started. 


Browse the bargains before you enter the store. 


I think this is a great promotion. 


View looking into the store from the front entrance. 


A few steps inside and looking to the right. 


Attractive shelf display to the left. 


Shelf displays are at the ends of aisles throughout the store. 


Head to these shelves for book rentals, a much more affordable reading option than purchasing a book.  Also a great idea if you don't want to get on a long wait list at the library for a book you want to read. 


What the local book groups are reading. 


The store offers many options for books of local and regional interest. 


An award winning bookstore.  No surprise. 


Dianne was featured in this article when she took over the business. 


Just a portion of the mysteries in the store. 


One of the many book nooks. 

Very neat and organized. 

Partial view of the children's area. 


Hey snowbirds, are your adult children too far away to help you with your phone?  Pick up this book and solve those problems. 
Find these uniquely created greeting cards on the front counter. 


I've been to bookstores where a local artist is so dedicated to the bookstore that they will do an artistic portrait like this.  Impressive.


Overview of the store looking toward the front entrance. 


With owner Dianne on the left and regular customer Sonja in the middle, two of the fine people you'll meet at The Book Shop.  Thanks for a great visit.