Four score and seven years ago, the independent bookstore was the place to get the latest, most interesting titles.
Guess what — it still is.
At Journey Press, we’ve made no secret of our love of the independent bookstore. There’s just no comparison to the opportunity to browse the stacks, get an informed suggestion from a bookseller (instead of a money-pushed Amazon ad), and perhaps most importantly, enjoy the smell of a vast accumulation of printed joy in one place.
The fact is, we sell 90% of our books through independent bookstores. In the process of building our network of more than 500 stores coast to coast (and beyond!) we’ve done more than establish a distribution channel: we’ve made 500+ friends. Booksellers are passionate about books or they wouldn’t be in the business. They are some of our favorite people.
And April 24 is their day: Independent Bookstore Day!
Now, we love all of our booksellers, and I could stop this article right here and just send you to our list of carrying bookstores. Any of the stores on that list are worth your time and patronage (just wear a mask and follow local safety guidelines!).
But I want to take this opportunity to spotlight just a few of the stores that have consistently been an overwhelming pleasure to work with, who have gone above and beyond to provide their communities with something special. This is not an exhaustive list; indeed, I’d have to run a dozen such articles to do justice to all the great places we work with. Nevertheless, one has to start somewhere!
Space Cowboy Books, Joshua Tree, CA
There’s a special place in our hearts for this Joshua Tree, CA institution. Mostly a used bookstore, with a lovingly curated collection of science fiction as well as a host of other topics, they were the site of our very first bookstore show, propelling the launch of Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958-1963). Its owner, Jean-Paul Garnier, is a fellow small press publisher, and a real mensch. And they’re open again after a long, COVID-caused hiatus. Well worth a visit and your support!
Chevalier’s Books, Los Angeles, CA
In the midst of Los Angeles beats the heart of one of the most vibrant, vital bookstores in the nation. Chevalier’s Books is not only a great place to get books, but it also serves as a community hub, featuring scintillating author events. Assistant Manager Theresa Le Phung is a delight to work with, and she is a font of knowledge on all things literary.
Westside Stories, Colorado Springs, CO
If you’re out in the Colorado Rockies, then you definitely want to check out Brian Marin’s Westside Stories in Colorado Springs. They’ve been selling new and used books since 1991, and they also have a great selection of gift and game items. We love any store with a tabletop roleplaying section!
Talk Story Books, Hanapepe, HI
The westernmost bookstore in the United States is an absolute delight. Not only is it a crown jewel in Hanapepe’s “art walk” boulevard, with a great selection of new and used books, but it’s home to two of my favorite booksellers (as well as several of my favorite bookselling cats)! Definitely a highlight of the beautiful island of Kaua’i.
Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop, New Orleans, LA
Science-fiction-focused bookstores are our favorites, and queer-focused SF bookstores are even better. Candice Huber’s New Orleans fixture, Tubby & Coo’s, is just the best place. Not only does she stock an eclectic mix of stuff, but she runs fantastic events, both virtual and in person. A must-visit!
Read It Again Bookstore, Suwannee, GA
Another great Southern bookstore is Kim McNamara’s place, not far from Atlanta. The positive vibe these folks put out is just wonderful. And the karma they’ve accumulated has paid off: they recently had a bad flood and had to move to a spot next door. The local community responded with donations and volunteers, keeping Read It Again in the pink through a tough time. Check them out in their current temporary digs, and then stay faithful when they move back!
Lake City Books and Writers Nook, Plattsburgh, NY
Nestled in upstate New York’s Adirondacks, you’ll find the lovely literary refuge of one Kyle Page. This is a bookseller of the old school, reading virtually every title that he sells. He’s passionate about science fiction and his customers. And most importantly, kitty!
Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, OH
Last but not least, one of Cleveland’s fixtures is the beautiful Loganberry Books. Harriett, Sarah, Miesha, and the rest of the team not only maintain a HUGE collection of new and used titles, but they are also a cultural hub with eclectic events, virtual and in-person. You’re guaranteed to meet someone cool at Loganberry!
Again, this is just a tiny sampling of our favorite stores — we could fill two posts with nothing but stores in Vermont and Oregon. Not to mention Iowa, Wyoming, West Virginia, Wisconsin….
Well, one batch at a time! Until then, if these stores are local, check them out. And if they aren’t, look for our titles at YOUR favorite local store – chances are they carry them!