It wouldn’t surprise me if 99% of avid readers and maybe 95% of authors have at some time in their lives fantasized about opening a bookstore. I certainly have. Even knowing how difficult running a small business is, even with how dicey the book business can be and how it’s changing so quickly it’s hard to keep up, I still dream about being a bookseller.
So, what would my bookstore look like? Lots of shelves crowded with books, of course. Comfy chairs for readers to relax in while they’re considering a purchase. Maybe a couple of display cases filled with cool gift items, like dragon sculptures, and pewter wizards, and unusual jewelry made by local artists. And of course, there would be a bookstore cat.
What kind of books would I sell? I’d focus on genre fiction. Plenty of science fiction and fantasy, a section for mystery, another for romance, a little horror. Books for adults, but also a generous offering of young adult and middle grade. Of course, a corner for wonderful picture books with a few toys for the little ones to play with while their parents shop. And I would emphasize diversity in all my offerings.
I’d also have a full calendar of author visits. Set up chairs or throw pillows on the floor, have the authors do readings, or talk about how they wrote their most recent book, or about whatever they feel passionate about. I’d have a storyteller come on Saturdays for the little ones. I’d have fundraisers for local schools or other causes. I’d want my store to be a community center where people would look forward to visiting, and even though they could save a few bucks on Amazon, they’d buy at my store instead because it’s just such a wonderful place to be.
Yeah, kind of a pipe dream. But if I’m going to imagine my own bookstore, I might as well imagine big.
How about you? What would your bookstore be like?