My Favorite Book Stores

        My favorite bookstores don’t have national recognition or stockholders. They are often downtown near the court-square. The owner is some now semi-responsible ex-hippie who digs Dylan and at least knows Monroe. She is mom of mom and pop, and pop makes the coffee and offers homemade banana bread in Saran wrap with a small round yellow sticker that indicates the price.

      The floor are pitted wide hardwood planks. An old man in a Lazy Boy chair reads the Wall Street Journal. A window AC unit and an overhead fan labor to rearrange the dust. The newest national titles are on a rack near the cash register along with a stack of a cookbooks written by a local author. The autographed copy is no extra charge and she’ll be by Wednesday. A kid in the corner plays Celtic music and sells CDs. There is no cover charge and the store doesn’t take a cut out of his CD sales, either.  

        They don’t believe in censorship and have the racy books too but keep ’em out of plain view of the kids. They aren’t naive. They know this generation didn’t invent sex, but they don’t exploit their wisdom. There’s a time and a place for everything.

        A computer at the front desk will locate all the titles they carry, and it’s a suprising number. If they don’t have it, give ’em an ISBN number and they’ll get it. They love books too, and think if a writer worked hard on one it should be read by at least somebody.

        If an old doctor with mandolin walks in to play ’em a tune they don’t shoo him away, but smile and hear out his story. They are my kind of people and I hope to find ’em all.

        I’ve always loved these kinds of book stores. They are artists, not biz people, yet they still have to be practical. They need to clear enough to stay open, and I want to help their cause. Independent book stores, like independent people, need to hang around a little longer.

Dr. B

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11 Comments on “My Favorite Book Stores”

  1. cherilaser Says:

    Hi! You have really hit a nerve with this post, and I do pray that independent book stores are able to survive the evolution/revolution currently besetting the publishing industry.

    When I published my first novel six years ago, the owner of an independent book store in a nearby town agreed to put several copies of my book on his shelves, up close to the cash register. And he even helped sponsor a book reading and signing for me in the cafe next door. As a new and totally unknown author who was getting doors slammed in her face left and right at the big chains, I found his kindness and encouragement to be overwhelming.

    Thank goodness he’s managed to survive! I did a lot of Christmas shopping in his store last December. And when my new novel comes out in July, I’m hopeful that he’ll give me a little space again (especially since I know a lot more about what I’m doing this time around).

    There’s nothing like the smell and feel of a small, family-owned independent book store! And everyone out there who loves to read and/or write books needs to help in any way possible to keep those businesses alive!

    Thanks so much for the reminder. Your words transported me into the little store described in your post.

    • drtombibey Says:


      I spent my life as a doctor. I still see it as a healing art, and not a business. I believe all of us who view our work as human communication, (be it as doctors or writers) and not just a way to make money, will find a way to survive.

      I sure hope we all do, anyway. Thanks so much for your insightful post.

      Dr. B

  2. Gail Says:

    Dr Tom
    If you wander up to Indiana, stop by Words and Images in Metamora on a Sat or Sun and we’ll buy your book and enjoy having you around. If you make it Labor Day weekend you can be a part of the Metamora Old Time Music Festival.

    • drtombibey Says:


      One of the things I want to do is dovetail a nice festival with visits to an independent book store. Yours sounds just right!

      If y’all have some nice quilting, yarn, cloth, or bead stores we might book it. (My wife is a weaver.)

      Dr. B

  3. Russ Says:

    Dr. B

    Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this post. These are my favorite kinds of bookstores as well. Independent book and record stores have gotten too much, and yet still not enough, of my browsing time over the years!

    Thanks for this post. And thanks for visiting my blog a while back! It brought me to yours, and I have been enjoying it ever since.

    Regards, Russ

  4. Levonne Says:

    I’m 100% with you on this one Dr. B.

  5. drtombibey Says:

    Russ and Levonne,

    Long live the independents in books, music, and people!

    Dr. B

  6. Martin Waddell Says:

    Independent bookshops – do they still exist anywhere? Very hard to find here in Scotland. We used to have a local Glasgow shop called (not very exciting name) John Smith – main shop in the city centre, with another shop near Glasgow University. Both shops were a pleasure to browse and buy in. Then along came the big UK-wide chains – Waterstone, Borders – and it was goodbye John Smith. Still, at least the Glasgow branches of these big chains were proper bookshops, with almost as good an atmosphere as the independents. Then along came Amazon, and even the big chains were in trouble. All the Borders shops have now gone, and I don’t know how much longer we’ll have the others. I suppose Amazon is useful, but it ain’t the same as a real shop.

    Btw, have a look at Bob Leckridge’s blog for an interesting photo of what they’re doing to the old Borders shop in Glasgow.

  7. […] Dr. Tom Bibey wrote about his favorite bookstores in a manner that made me immediately want to go book and music shopping at mom-and-pop […]

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