Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Small, independent bookstores in neighborhoods across the United States are places to discover new books and make new friendships. VOA

Small, independent bookstores in neighborhoods across the United States are places to discover new books and make new friendships. But about 20 years ago they were rapidly closing because of competition from big box chain bookstores and on-line book sales. Then about 10 years ago something remarkable happened as indie bookstores came back to life, many thriving and growing every year.

At One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC, customer Cheryl Moore likes the personalized service that she does not get at large corporate-owned bookstores.


“I think they pay attention to the kinds of books people like to read. They have book clubs, so I don’t think it’s a place where people just buy books, but make friends here.”

Kate Oberdorfer browses through the unusual assortment of books that range from mystery novels and cookbooks, to biographies of famous people. “It’s a great hole in the wall store where you can find independent titles,” she said.

Oberdorfer chats about a couple of books with Lelia Nebeker, the book buyer for the store that opened eight years ago in the upscale neighborhood.

“I do think it’s a special place for people to come,” said Nebeker, who lives nearby. “When people come in and share their experiences about a book or an author, it can foster a sense of community where people can meet other people who share their interests,” she explained.

After almost withering away, indie bookstores grew by 35 percent between 2009 and 2015. And according to the American Booksellers Association, sales at the more than 2,400 bookstores in the United States rose about 5 percent over the past year. Among them is Hooray for Books, a children’s bookstore that started 11 years ago in Alexandria, Virginia. Owner Ellen Klein thinks part of her success has been providing a wide variety of books to the diverse neighborhood.

“In this community we have a lot of mixed race families,” she said, “and so we’re trying to serve them as well, and it’s wonderful seeing more books with mixed race characters.”

As customer Sarah Reidl scans the shelves of children’s books she said, “You just can’t really browse on the Internet. I like to be able to browse and look for things in person that catch my eye.”

For people who are passionate about reading, independent bookstores sometimes become a home away from home.

Kristen Maier from Missouri often comes to Hooray for Books when she is in the Washington area for work. She doesn’t think electronic books can replace the feeling of physically holding a book.

“If you don’t have a nice book to pass down to your grandkids or their grandkids, you just kind of lose that sense of history and tradition for your family.”

But to survive, today’s indie bookstores know they have to sell more than books. One More Page also draws in customers with bottles of wine and chocolate they can take home along with a book.


FILE – This June 8, 2016 photo shows Riverby Books, a small independent bookstore located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington D.C. VOA

“We are a place where you can come for events, you can meet authors, get books signed, and buy books you might not necessarily stumble upon on your own,” said Nebeker.

Including by local author Ed Aymar, who is talking before a packed house about his latest thriller The Unrepentant. A singer also performs songs that relate to the story.

“Usually, authors are just reading out loud,” he said. “Something like this gives a different perspective and provides more entertainment for the audience.” Angie Kim, another local author, came to support Aymar.

ALSO READ: Major Achievement! Scientists Take The First-Ever Image of Black Hole

“I’ve been here for 5 events just in the last couple of months,” she said. “I think it’s just a wonderful way to show the bookstore that we care about spaces like this and that we want them to continue.”

“We’re going to keep doing what we do well, and hope that our community loves having us around enough to support us,” Nebeker added. (VOA)


Popular

Unsplash

Music is the universal language that is spoken by all.

When it comes to our day-to-day life, there are several things which help us enhance our day with every step. One such thing is music. It enhances, motivates and boosts certain aspects of our personality in ways that may not come into notice. There have been several researches on how music affects human brain. Studies show it helps us in recovery and healing, and also, encouraging us to be better if exposed to the right kind and fit.

From kids to elderly, music as a commodity, can be consumed by all. It is the universal language that is spoken by each and every being, from animals to humans to plants, each respond to it in their own ways. Suffice to say, we are united by music and the effect it has over us. Plants, for example, grow better when exposed to good music. Many songs are being composed specifically to enhance and boost their growth. Same is the case for humans. For humans, the right kind of music can boost good health, physically as well as mentally. You might have noticed how in gyms, upbeat music is played. That is to channel energy into everyone present. It adds to the workout. Several researches around the world have shown better physical output when exposed to appropriate music. Fast paced songs with upbeat nature channeled speed and the slower ones slowed downs the listeners, without them noticing. The sub-conscious effects of music are continuously being studied.

Keep Reading Show less
Unsplash

Awareness is the key to heal.

As more and more people are acknowledging the importance of their mental well-being, the wave of awareness the acknowledgment has brought is unprecedented. It may not have paved a clear path towards complete healing but it certainly has shown the way. The awareness is the key to heal. Healing begins only after the problem is identified. Similar to physical illness, the identification of the problem area is the first step. Even in case of a minor wound, when we go to the hospital the nurse first locates the wound. They, then, ask how we got hurt and identify the nature of the wound. Only then, they clean, put ointment and wrap it up if it needs wrapping and protection from air and dust. Sometimes, that protection is not needed. The wound heals out in the open. Same goes when it comes to healing of a mental trauma or illness. Sometimes, we confine in professionals or our loved ones, in order to let it out and process it openly. Sometimes, the trauma reduces with time. In any way, being aware and vigilant is the way to go.

Being knowledgeable about life in general, opens many channels for you. Being knowledgeable about yourself, opens gates inside you that lead to spiritual and general awareness about the concept of self. And the inner awareness is not necessarily internal, it can be seen from the outside as well. When we have positive energy from within it radiates physically as well. Have you encountered someone who’s spiritually awakened and aware? Do they stand out in the crowd? There are prominent examples of people who have made their mark in history, there is Swami Vivekanada, his awakening has revolutionised generations, one live example we can witness is The Dalai Lama.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Game of Thrones taught us some significant lessons

Honestly, who hasn’t watched one of the epic series of HBO– Game of Thrones?

There’s no question that when the first episode of Game of Thrones was released on April 11, 2011, the youth population of the world became exuberant. The main reasons behind this reaction was, first, the theme of the show, and second, the hidden lessons which it put forward.

Keep reading... Show less