Throughout the next few months, I will be spotlighting Independent Bookstores across the nation and sharing with you a glimpse into their lives as bookstore owners or managers. While writing The Lost and Found Bookshop I interviewed different stores and spent a lot of time researching all things books. I thought this would be a fun way to share some of the fun things I learned. To kick off this fun campaign I went to my local bookstore Liberty Bay Books, in Poulsbo, Washington.
I also want to encourage you throughout these times to purchase books from your local bookstores, even online.
Pictured: Madison Duckworth (Bookseller) and Suzanne Selfors (Owner) at Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo, WA. Selfors says, “We can’t wait for Susan’s new book. In the meantime, we have lots of copies of her other books on hand, ready for her readers.”
- How was your store founded? Liberty Bay Books was founded back in 1996 by a woman named Suzanne Droppert. She sold the store to me on Feb 1st. We closed for two weeks and did a huge remodel. During the remodel, we had to move all the books out of the store and into my house, and that was about 60,000 dollars worth of books so you can imagine what my house looked like. If you didn’t know me and you visited you would have thought I was a hoarder. But now the store is up and running and I think it’s beautiful. I had a work crew of writers who helped with painting, decorating, and the boxing and unboxing of books. I couldn’t have done it without my friends!
- What’s your favorite time of year to read? My favorite time of year to read is in the summer on my boat. Best place to read, ever! With the quiet lapping of the water, the call of the gulls, and a crisp gin and tonic by my side.
- What do you think are the unique challenges facing independent bookstores? Getting people INTO the store is the number 1 challenge. It’s tough to compete with everyone’s schedules, and distractions, and the conditioned behavior of turning on the computer and pressing “buy.” But, getting people into the store is also the blessing, because it’s the experience of the bookstore that is the value. To actually touch the books, flip through the pages, to talk to a breathing bookseller, to discover something that you wouldn’t have found online where only the bestsellers pop up first. Discovery is our goal when you walk into our store. Of course, the bestsellers are there, but we also create tables filled with books you didn’t expect.
- If you had just one book that you had to sell to everyone who walked in the door, what would it be? Well, one of my favorite books is A Little History of the World by EH Gombrich, because anyone can read this book and be totally engrossed.
- What’s your favorite part of working at an independent bookstore? Handselling a book is my favorite part. Yes, I’ve only been doing it for a short time but it is really satisfying.
I wish we had an India book store like yours near us.
I feel so lucky to have two great stores nearby! Liberty Bay Books and Eagle Harbor Book Company.