Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Where have our bookstores gone? Will we save those that are left?

Yesterday I visited two bookstores in our area. The one closest to home, Phillips and Lloyd books on the square in Hayesville, NC is closing its doors at the end of this month. I am personally saddened by this because Elizabeth and her husband, Joe, have been, not only good people to have in our community, but good for our town. They   organized and formed a merchants association and made Hayesville a better place to visit any time of the year. 

They say they are ready to retire. I think they have struggled like all  independent book stores with the rise of Amazon and the difficulty for small stores to compete. We the buyers are the losers when we buy from Amazon and ignore our own local bookstores. 

Later in the afternoon, I dropped in to see Linda Ray, owner of Curiosity Shop Bookstore in Murphy, located at 46 Valley River Ave. where you will find the Shoppes of Murphy. Linda says her shelves hold half the books she had last year. She can order books she doesn't have in stock. Her distributors don't handle as many books as they once did.
Linda, like Elizabeth at Phillips and Lloyd, has been supportive of our local writers. She stocks well-written books by people who write about western North Carolina. Tourists come in and want books with local color. She is not too fond of run of the mill memoirs. They must have something special about them to grace the shelves of Curiosity Shop Books. 

What many people don't know is that they can order books online from Linda and she can get them quickly. Visit her website and see what she has to offer. I was pleased to see that she has Anne Lamott's new book, Help, Thanks, Wow at a discounted price. I am reading one of Lamott's books I received for Chrismas.

I hope readers in our area will do all they can to support Linda's bookstore. She has gift items available. She carries the NCWN West anthology, Echoes Across the Blue Ridge, and has recently come upon a few copies of the first Netwest anthology, Lights in the Mountains. This is a rare opportunity to buy this book which is out of print. 
My book signing at Phillips and Lloyd

Both Phillips and Lloyd and Curiosity Shop Books are precious to us who live here and love to browse a good bookstore. Phillips and Lloyd hosted our first Coffee with the Poets events in the warm dessertery where we feasted upon delectable pastries and tasty teas and coffee. They sold many poetry books by local poets. 
Poets gather at Phillips and Lloyd with Elizabeth on far right.

Curiosity Shop Books hosted our writers on many occasions and has held numerous book signings for local writers and those not so local. I hope that my readers will stop in and thank Linda Ray for supporting all of us these many years. And stop in to Phillips and Lloyd on the square in Hayesville, for a good buy right now. Everything in the store is on sale. Thank Elizabeth for all she has done for writers in western North Carolina. We will miss that bookstore more than we can ever imagine.


Ellen said...

Yes, we will miss Phillips and Lloyd. Elizabeth is a true professional, and I wish her much happiness in her retirement. And Linda Ray is a gem of a person. Thanks for the "gentle nudge" to do more to support her.

Anonymous said...

This is indeed bad news. I heard it today from Brenda. Phillips and Lloyd is not only one of the most delightful stores in Hayesville, but in the area.

Maren O. Mitchell

Abbie Taylor said...

I agree it's bad news when an independent bookstore closes. Here in Sheridan, Wyoming, we used to have two, but now we only have one, and I don't think it has a Website.

However, I can see why people prefer to order from Amazon and other online book retailers. It's fast and easy, and if you want the book in a matter of days, all you have to do is say so.

If an independent bookstore doesn't have a particular book, they have to order it, and this warrants another trip to the store to pick it up when it comes in. Because I'm unable to drive, this can be a pain in the anatomy, especially in the winter. I would support our local bookstore if it had a Website, and in the winter, I'm willing to pay extra for shipping if necessary.

I keep plenty of copies of my own books handy in case anyone wants to buy one from me directly. All they have to do is send me a check, and I'll ship it to them as soon as I can have someone drive me to the post office. I don't charge extra for shipping and handling since I sent books by media mail which is pretty cheap.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap:
Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

I am also very sad that Phillips and Lloyd's Book Shop will close the last of January. I sure will miss this book shop. Elizabeth and Joe have been so good to support local writers. I wish them the best in retirement. I hope folks will support Linda and her bookstore.