I have two trips on my calendar this summer, and I know that on both of those trips I’ll end up in a bookstore at some point, but not some chain store at the mall. It’s the independent bookstores I love.
It seems like they’re always located in an old building, their unassuming entrances barely noticeable among all the tourist shops. I know I’m in an indie bookstore if the floorboards creak and the musty scent of history perfumes the air.
Indie bookstores don’t have to conform to guidelines handed down from corporate headquarters, so each one has its own distinct personality. You find it in the cat curled up in the front window or the work of a local author displayed on the counter. Maybe it’s an old-fashioned bell that jingles when you open the door, a hand-written receipt, or an owner who’s willing to share the local gossip even if you have no idea who she’s talking about. You never know what you’ll discover when you walk inside.
If you’re planning a trip this summer, make sure to find the local bookstore while you’re shopping for cheesy t-shirts and postcards you’ll never send. Step inside and listen to the floorboards creak. Discover the unique personality of that store and buy a book as a souvenir. I guarantee the memory of the bookstore will stay with you longer than the t-shirt.
©2013 Kim Vandel