Sunday, March 19, 2023

Read Spotted Newt - Hazard, KY

Read Spotted Newt, Hazard, KY

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There are many things that contribute to the success of a bookstore but I was most amazed to hear about the beginnings of Read Spotted Newt (pronounced "red", not "reed," OBVIOUSLY) from owner Mandi F.S.  This indie has been open for three years but at the start it had horrible luck.  Or did it?  To most, a flood and a pandemic would be a death knell but it was just the opposite here.  Read Spotted Newt not only survived but thrived thanks to a deluge of local publicity.  As Mandi told me, during those days she felt like someone was shoving a mic in her face all the time, asking about the store and its challenges.  The result was a mountain of free publicity for a determined store and owner, with the store relocating to a new space.  They survived the pandemic with the same formula as many other indies.  Phone orders, online orders, and enlarging Facebook photos of the store to see the book titles they wanted to order.  And lots of puzzles.  Good grief, if Read Spotted Newt can survive all that I'd say the future is nothing but bright.   

I've been following this bookstore ever since they opened for two reasons.  Their name (I love it), and the uniqueness of the building.  The store is located on a prominent corner as you enter the town and was originally The Hazard Welcome Center.  Those two things aside, once you visit the store and meet Mandi and Warner, a bookseller, your impressions and experience will take off.  In this case, you CAN judge a book by its cover!  A beautiful, cozy and comfy space with mostly new books and a few used.  The books of regional interest sell especially well.  Its a smaller space but does not feel crowded at all.  Despite the size, the sidelines are plentiful and include greeting cards, bookstore swag, and jewelry to name a few.  The stickers sell well as do the Tarot cards which is surprising given the stores' location in the Appalachian Bible belt.

Before Mandi started this business she was a stay-at-home mom with a background and degrees that have NOTHING to do with bookstores.  You'll want to follow her because in addition to owning a bookstore she's a promising author.  What a wonderful benefit for Hazard (population approximately 5000) and the surrounding communities to have this resource in a region where there is nothing else like it.  Congratulations Mandi!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Rules Of Civility, Amor Towles. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Appalachian Reckoning, Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll.  


I think this store has a gorgeous setting and it is probably even more so in the summer and fall seasons.  On the corner nestled inside a small bluff on the edge of downtown. 

Closer view of the store.  Notice the "welcome" sign atop the building.  What a great sign for any bookstore but honesty compels me to tell you that was already there when the building was the Hazard Welcome Center. 

A very creative bench outside the store. 

Everyone needs to be reminded of this. 

View looking into the store from the front entrance. 

Take a look below the checkout counter when you purchase a book.  I think you could use a beverage and a treat. 

Like everywhere else I've been lately, the stickers are hot. 

Looking to the right from the store entrance. 

Relevant display for the approaching Easter season. 

If I were a regular at this store, one of these seats would be my usual spot. 

Popular sellers for the store. 

I can usually find unique and locally created items in many bookstores. 

If you call yourself a University of Kentucky fan you'll need to consider this book. 

Very unique earrings. 

Current non-fiction display. 

These literary candles are a popular sideline in many bookstores. 

A variety of books and sidelines displayed.  Behind this display is the children's area. 

I love these stickers. 


Just a few of the greeting cards offered.

Looking into the children's area.  They have their own room in the back of the store. 

One more activity for the children who come to the store. 

The red spotted newt!

Another overview of the children's area. 

View of the store looking from the back toward the front entrance.  Notice all the window space for excellent natural lighting.  Warner is at the front counter waiting for your purchase. 

With Mandi, the fine owner at Read Spotted Newt.  Thanks for a great visit.

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