My Dream Bookstore

BookshelfThis week, YA Highway asks a very fun question:  Imagine you get to open your own bookstore. What would it look like? What kinds of books would you sell?

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.

hp photosmart 720So, 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?

About karensandler

Lover of chocolate. A couple felines short of full-fledged Cat Lady. Author of the YA Tankborn Trilogy (TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION), from Tu Books. Founding team member of We Need Diverse Books. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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11 Responses to My Dream Bookstore

  1. Colin says:

    Sounds nice, Karen. I’m not sure I’d have a live cat in store (might be a put-off for people with allergies), but I like the idea of a store mascot. Something to add to the cozy, home-y feeling to the place.

    • karensandler says:

      I’ve known a few bookstores with resident cats. In one case, a scary-enormous cat. He was pretty cool.

      A good-sized UBS in town brings in their dogs (at one time a large lab). It gave the place a homey feel.

  2. Bookstore cat is a must! Awww. Love the idea of a storyteller for little ones too, how fun! Your store sounds like one I’d love to spend a long afternoon in 🙂

    • karensandler says:

      Yeah, that’s the idea, a place will have folks hanging around. Hopefully buying books, or maybe I’d be independently wealthy like Colin Smith and it wouldn’t matter.

  3. I can’t believe I forgot the bookstore cat! I have known and loved several bookstore cats in my time. The trick is to have plenty of space (and probably vacuum often) so that the store doesn’t turn into an allergy bomb. (I am both a cat owner/lover and way allergic; to me, the terribly itchy eyes and sneezing are worth it, but I can see where not everyone might feel that way.)

    • karensandler says:

      And there are filtering systerms that you can use, right? I’m a total cat lover, but although I understand that some aren’t into felines, or they’re allergic, this is *my* fantasy store, and it’s gonna have a cat. 🙂

  4. Rachael says:

    It sounds like a great bookstore! I love the idea of a bookstore cat (being a major cat person myself) but I have friends who are allergic to cats so at the same time I know that it probably wouldn’t be a very good idea. Still, a pet of any kind would be awesome!

  5. This sounds like an awesome bookstore! I also like the idea of there being a display case with cool things inside!

  6. We’ve had a bookstore in our family many years ago and it was very very hard work. If I had a bookstore today I would specialise in one popular genre. There’s a great store in town called Pulp Fiction that mostly hosts crime fiction. I’d also make sure it had a cafe and plenty of places to sit.

    • karensandler says:

      Small businesses are hard work, for sure. In my family, it was a restaurant. My mom was in constant motion.

      Even so, it’s fun to dream about how I might do a bookstore. 🙂

  7. I love the idea of making a bookstore such a wonderful place to be that people are willing to spend a couple extra bucks to have the experience. As much as I love Barnes & Nobel, I think that experience is what is missing there.

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