The Indie Bookstore Village

Josie Leavitt - May 12, 2015

Let’s be honest, no one goes into owning an independent bookstore to get rich or famous. We do it because we love books and want to share our love of them with other people. Independent bookstores are quirkily curated places where book lovers can rejoice and folks new to reading can discover treasures. This is especially true with a children’s bookstore. New readers and their families can sit for long hours reading together and sharing. Older children can get lost in chapter books, middle grade and young adult books. It’s not just about the books, it’s about making connections, deep connections, with people.
Often these connections are not shared with store owners. Not through lack of thought but through the busyness of life. Every once in a while a customer takes a moment to say thank you and give us a window into what our store has meant to their family. This is why we do this. Not for the letters but because we know that this is happening for many, many families. But it is so lovely when someone takes the time to write.
Yesterday, we received an email from a long-time customer that she is allowing me to share here. First a little background. Sandy and her two daughters started shopping at the store when we first opened, almost 19 years ago. Martha is the older sister and Donna the younger one. Donna has just graduated from college! As is the way with children, once they hit high school, they don’t read for pleasure as often; they would still stop by, just not as much. Then college takes them away. So, getting this letter was especially heartwarming:
“I saw Josie recently and invited her to stop by at Donna’s graduation party. I was serious!! We love you both and you have been such important parts of my children’s lives (and mine)! it is at our house, Saturday 4:30 to 9. It is pretty casual. If you do not make it, pardon my sentimentality but please know that I am forever grateful that you opened your remarkable store in Charlotte in time to teach me how to read and share books with my kids!! It does take a village – especially in my case – and you were important parts of our village!¬†You really introduced me to the world of children’s literature. I am an avid reader but neither of my kids were. Martha was forced to read and had to complete a reading log. Reading is such a source of pleasure for me, I hated the idea of forcing this. So I just read to her and Donna. It ended up being this wonderful part of my life with them. Through you two we read all of the classics (and some new classics). I remember meeting Katherine Paterson in the tent behind the store. I remember getting a British version of Harry Potter. And now they both love to read! So thanks. xo”
I had no idea the impact we had on this family. That we had some small part in creating two life-long readers is perhaps one of the loveliest things I’ve ever heard. This is why people open bookstores. This is why we put up with challenges from Amazon and big box stores. It’s all about connections and the very massive ripple effect books can have on someone’s life. Honestly, only an independent bookstore can do this.
So, dear readers, if you have been moved by your local store, let them know and make their day.

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