Monday, April 21, 2014

Discovery of a small town bookstores, and I'm not prepared the way a salesman would be!


On Saturday, April 19, I passed through the pleasant exurb of Purcellville VA (on an unrelated and private “mission”), at the end of the Washington and Old Dominion bike trail (which provides one of the town’s principle sources of business), ten miles west of Leesburg, not far from the Blue Ridge.  It’s somewhat removed from the new enclaves of corporate America, like the huge Internet server farms and condo developments around Ashburn, fifteen miles farther East, on the other side of Leesburg.  One thing you do find in smaller towns away from big government and big companies is older walk-in bookstores.  I stumbled upon the “Around the Block Books”, link here. It has a Facebook link here
   
No, I had not carried book samples with me (I do have some paperbacks and a few hardcovers in a personal “inventory”); nor did I have the book stubs, “movie” posters, or business cards with me.  I did have a nice chat with the people about my books, and about why a work like the “Momastery” book (previous post, this blog) is such a big seller in  a world where selling hardcopy printed books is harder because everybody is online.  It does seem that informal book gatherings are still more common in small town America.  

  
Actually, HRC (Human Rights Campaign) has a signing May 1 in Washington DC for ESPN’s Kate Fagan, “The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians” (link ).

Fifteen years ago, when I was living in Minneapolis (from 1997 to 2003), I found small bookstores to be more common, again, in the communities farther from the Twin Cities, like around Northfield or St. Cloud.  
  
They seem to be less common.  Lambda Rising (LGBT centered) operated in Washington DC from 1974 to 2010 but eventually closed, partly because of competition from big box stores but most of all Amazon.  Lambda Rising used to host book signings, such as Joe Steffan’s “Honor Bound” in September 1992 (reviewed here, Oct. 10, 2007). Borders is no longer.  

Another resource for moving hard copies is consignment stores,  I did drive past one in Purcellville.  I recall leaving a couple copies of my first DADT book in 1997 in one in Richmond VA and getting into a debate with the owner about aggressive affirmative action, which he supported!


Update: April 24

In Falls Church, VA tonight, across the street from a restaurant, I noticed a small "One More Page Books" store.  I will check into it soon. 

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