Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Love My Indie with Author Ellen F. Brown

Love My Indie is a new feature at Actin' Up with Books where fellow bloggers, readers, and writers tell me about their favorite independent bookstores. I love the feeling I get when I go into an independent bookstore - like it is filled with hidden treasures just waiting for me to find them. But there aren't any independent bookstores where I live. This is why any time I visit a new town or city, I always search out the local indie scene. Since I don't have a lot of time to travel, I'm inviting my readers to tell me about their favorite independent bookstore. Showing some Indie Love today is:

Indie Bookstores: Use ‘Em, Or Lose ‘Em

When I read on Joli’s blog that she doesn’t have an indie bookstore in her town, I felt so sorry for her. I grew up in the big-box suburbs of Northern Virginia and didn’t discover the joys of indie stores until my adult years, but now can’t imagine life without them. Whenever I travel, I always look in the phonebook for the nearest indie bookstore and try to squeeze in a visit. I’m blessed that my husband and sons share my love of a good bookstore – especially ones in musty old buildings with creaky hardwood floors.

Living in Richmond, we are fortunate to have a several excellent indies, including BBGB, a children’s bookstore. It’s our go-to place for birthday presents for my kids’ friends. When we stop by on the way to a party, we walk out minutes later with the perfect book, gift-wrapped. It’s not unusual for the staff to know the child whose birthday it is and to be able to rule out books he has already read or received as a present from somebody else. Crazy great, right?

I also have a special place in my heart for Fountain Books in downtown Richmond. It’s in a beautiful old building and is the kind of place that makes me feel lucky to live in this city. As a writer, I especially appreciate all that Fountain’s owner, Kelly Justice, does to support the literary arts in our community. She hosts tons of in-store author events and goes the extra mile to support events at local libraries and other venues. At monthly meetings of the James River Writers, our local writing group, Fountain is at the back of the room offering a host of interesting titles about writing and books by local authors. And, when my first book was released a few months ago, Kelly was my biggest cheerleader. In addition to supporting the book in her store, she has given me terrific advice on how the publishing world works. 

I also admire Kelly's fighting spirit. Despite all the doom and gloom news about the bookselling business, Fountain is working to keep ahead of the curve. Kelly recently hosted an open forum asking customers to tell her what she can do to keep them coming back. It’s no surprise to me that she is currently president of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.

In these crazy economic times, it’s essential that we show our support for indie businesses. If you are lucky to have an indie bookstore in your town, take advantage of it. As the old saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Ellen F. Brown is co-author of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood.  You can follow her on Twitter @ellenfbrown.

I love Fountainhead Bookstore. I've been there a few times when visiting family and they always have great recommendations. I haven't had a chance to go to BBGB, but I'll be sure to check it out the next time I'm in Richmond.

Thanks Ellen for sharing your favorite independent bookstores.

If you're interested in participating in this feature, please send me an email at actinupwb@gmail.com - I'd love to hear from you and discover your favorite indie bookstore!

1 comment:

Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time to comment!


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