Sunday, August 27, 2023

Jan’s - Beaverton, OR

Jan's, Beaverton, OR

 (Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

Calling all bookstore enthusiasts and small business supporters in the Pacific Northwest.  Time to mount up and ride!  Any bookstore like Jan’s that’s been on a run for 42 years deserves your attention, recognition, and support.  As current owner Lori C. told me, some of their regulars go all the way back to when the store was first known as Jan’s Paperbacks.  But now, the economy is not quite as good, especially here at Jan’s, and they need your support more than ever. 

The original Jan’s Paperbacks was a paperback trade store but today Jan’s offers hardbacks as well as a few new ones, mostly recent releases.  Keep in mind though that they can order any books you might request.  Customers can bring books in and receive store credit in return but Jan's has to be particular about what they take due to space.  Their romance section is especially strong.  Jan’s has an active event schedule and I was impressed to hear that they have 9 book clubs.  If you live in the area, ask about these and consider joining one that suits your interest, a great way to support the store.  Most of the sidelines they carry support local artisans and include jewelry, eco tote bags, vintage vinyl, games, soaps, and puzzles.  But the hot item here that’s flying out of the store is something called a comfy bowl cozy.  This is a bowl-shaped item made of cotton materials that is microwave safe and used to surround your dishware in the microwave.

To those of you who are regular customers at Jan’s, start spreading the news.  Visit the store often, bring a friend or a relative.  Introduce them to Lori and Stephanie, a bookseller, and help them to see what a good bookstore experience they can have when they come here.  Congratulations to Lori who just celebrated a 5-year anniversary of Jan’s ownership.  Help her make it 5 more with your continued and regular support.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir. 

JUST FINISHED:  The English Experience, Julie Schumacher.  Professor Fitger from Payne University doesn't like his students, his colleagues, his administration, or his ex-wife.  Yet, he's been told he's going to chaperone a group of students to England as part of the school's abroad program.  This cranky professor will leave you chuckling and wait until you see the students he's in charge of.  I love this author and also recommend Dear Committee Members.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Night Always Comes, Willy Vlautin. 

Beautiful storefront and entrance. 

Get warmed-up for your visit by shopping before you even enter. 

Unique shaped display windows. 

The store hosts 9 book clubs.  Find one that's right for you. 

View looking into the store from the front entrance. 

Directly to the right after you enter is the checkout counter and a display of the new books. 

You'll want to add this to your purchase before you go. 

Take a few steps into the store and look to the right.  You'll see this long book aisle. 

I really like this display, a nice touch. 

Used book policy. 

Psst.  Check out the bottom shelf to manage your budget. 

A great place in the front of the store to sample a book. 

Locally sourced soap. 

Find these shelves to browse some classics. 

I call this the wall of appreciation.  Jan's is an important part of the community. 

Just a few of the items of local and regional interest.

They offer music on vinyl. 

Overview of the back of the store. 

Reusable eco-totes. 


Looking into the back room of the bookstore. 

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

A great deal on book club books. 

Tired of getting burned taking hot bowls out of the microwave?  You need one of these. 

If you know any Zane Grey fans, send them here. 

A mere fraction of the romance books available. 

With Lori, the fine owner at Jan's in Beaverton.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Broadway Books - Portland, OR

Broadway Books, Portland, OR

(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

Again, at the risk of being repetitive, regular followers of my journey know how much I sing the praises of indie owners and booksellers.  Broadway Books is my 563rd bookstore visited and it NEVER gets old meeting wonderful people like co-owners Sally M., Kim B., and bookseller Carrie.  Either every employee at Broadway Books is awesome (likely) or the clunkers weren’t working the day of my visit (unlikely).  Meeting people like this and experiencing the store leaves one with a "joie de vivre" and a spiritual lift that will never be duplicated by an online purchase.  With people like this, no wonder Broadway Books has been on a successful run for 32 years.  

Get a signed edition of Keith Rosson's new book, Fever House

Broadway Books is a one-level indie with a visible location on Portland’s busy Broadway Ave.  The store is packed with all new books and a few used.  Their online sales have been a big part of the business and were especially critical to the store’s success through the pandemic.  They have an active events schedule and have a space in the back of the store that they’re able to clear for these.  They were even fortunate to be able to host Michelle Obama on the tour of her book, Becoming.  Books by local authors and small publishers are strong here, separating it from other bookstores who may not be able to do this.  Another reason to visit indies is you never know when you’ll bump into an author like I did.  Keith Rosson was here signing his new books, Fever House, released on the day of my visit.  As for the store’s customers, co-owner Kim couldn’t have been more complimentary stating amazing, amazing, and amazing!

If this bookstore isn’t recognized on lists of Oregon’s finest I would be surprised.  The enthusiastic welcoming and kindness matched by knowledgeable chats with these three ladies is simply the best.  Pay this place a visit and discover the same joy I did.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  A Thread of Grace, Mary Doria Russell.  Historical fiction that focuses on the resistance in Italy and the many Catholic families who willingly took people into their homes, usually covertly.  The challenge with this book was keeping track of the many character names and their various aliases depending on who their allegiances were with at different times.  Time frame is 1943- the end of the war. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The English Experience, Julie Schumacher. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The English Experience, Julie Schumacher.  This Is Happiness, Niall Williams.  The Librarianist, Patrick DeWitt.  The Baseball 100, Joe Posnanski.  Go Shark card game.  

This sidewalk sign will tell you you're in the right place. 

Beautiful storefront. 

A portion of the large display window space. 

Looking into the store from the front entrance. 

View looking to the right from the front entrance. 

Looking to the left from the front entrance. 

Curling around to the left after entering and you'll find a few of the greeting cards available. 

Directly to the right and across the front of the store. 

Staff recommendations display. 

A great way to keep kids engaged with summer reading. 

Find this area of the store for a bargain used book. 

See those boxes underneath this attractive display table?  Those are more books waiting for YOU to clear room for their spot on the table. 

A variety of crossword puzzles. 

Many journals to choose from. 

Partial view looking into the children's area. 

Another angle of the children's area. 

Look around the store above the shelves and see poster sized book covers.  I always enjoy seeing these. 

View looking from the back toward the front entrance. 

Oh, could I get comfy with a book here. 

Just a few of the books of local and regional interest.

Find an assortment of magazines near the front entrance. 

You'll find sidelines scattered throughout the store.  This assorted display is in the front of the store. 

I think any bookstore in the country would treasure a visit from this author. 
From L-R: Kim, a customer, Sally, and Carrie, the fine owners and staff you'll meet at Broadway Books.  Thanks for a great visit.