Ode to an Indie

07 Dec
Unabridged Bookstore

Unabridged Bookstore in Chicago, IL

Indie Thursday came early this week.

For those of you who are unaware, Indie Thursday is a weekly Twitter event/meme/hashtag thingamajig started by friend of the blog Jenn.  Basically, it’s a way to share what books you purchase at independent bookstores each week, by tweeting about it with the hashtag #IndieThursday.  It comes a convenient 24 hours before Friday Reads, which is a similar method of sharing what you are reading every week.  #FridayReads promotes reading as a social experience; #IndieThursday builds off of its momentum and promotes buying your reading material from human beings who live and work in your community.  This blog strongly supports both.  Obviously.

More often than not, my #IndieThursday books are purchased from Unabridged Bookstore in Lakeview, a neighborhood in Chicago, both because I have to drive past it several times a week and because it’s a wonderful bookstore in just about every way possible.  I love bringing my nephew to the store after picking him up from daycare to let him choose a book to take home, and sometimes I splurge and get one for myself, too.  They also order books for me that aren’t in stock, and it’s always been a fast, pleasant experience.  I’m a fan.

After a particularly nice visit earlier this evening, I decided to tweet my appreciation for the world to see via my personal Twitter account.  I may have gone a bit overboard; two hours and about 40 tweets later, I finally shut up.  This is the kind of epic tweetfest that deserves to be preserved for posterity, though, so I have collected the tweets here.  Hope you enjoy reading them, and make sure to visit Unabridged if you are in the Chicago area!  Or find an indie bookstore of your own where you can cultivate wholesome book buying experiences within your community.

(Note: @mrpilkington is Stefan, manager and book buyer for Unabridged.  Also, my friend and enabler.)

I will now, in a multi-tweet, riveting story, tell you why I love @UnabridgedBooks.

It starts a few months ago, when I was liquidating the State St Borders. I found a book that looked GREAT, planning to buy it after work.

An hour later, it wasn’t on the shelf. I looked everywhere, up until the last book was sold. Gone.

I couldn’t remember the title, except that it was a bit odd. I knew the cover was white…very helpful. And I remembered the first sentence.

I was also pretty sure the author’s last name started with a B or C, based on where I had reshelved it.

But that wasn’t much to go on. I was my own worst nightmare customer. I had so little info on it that I didn’t even try asking anyone.

Google and Amazon searches yielded nothing useful. I kept my eye on the early alphabet when I browsed at B&N and Half Price, to no avail.

I was losing hope of ever finding this book again. It was The One That Got Away. It was killing me.

@mcnallyjackson I was actually disappointed with myself for not knowing it, b/c it was a Man Booker finalist…probably gives it away.

To continue. Tonight I got Noah to leave daycare by bribing him with a bookstore visit (as usual). He adores @UnabridgedBooks.

Correction: shortlisted for Man Booker, not a finalist.

Noah selected a couple books for himself and reshelved the rest (yes, I am VERY proud of him).

And then Noah wanted to explore the “grownup books,” so I got to walk the store. (Usually I don’t get past Kids’ if he’s with me.)

Right there, in New Fiction, was a faceout of my book! I couldn’t believe it – reunited when I had given up all hope!!

$25.95 plus LOCAL SALES TAX just left my bank account, and it was worth every penny for the joy and surprise of stumbling on it again.

@NathanDunbar I know the suspense is killing you! But imagine how I felt this whole time…

So, the moral of the story is: shop bricks & mortar. Shop local. Shop indie. Let a book find you! Internet searches? Meh.

(Side note: I stand in a bricks & mortar and use the Amazon app on my phone to check pub date, reviews, etc before buying. I’m strange.)

Even better, Noah charmed another customer, making an instant friend, and our cashier commented on what great books we had chosen.

All those personal interactions vs. an automated confirmation email.

Noah recommends: ROADWORK by Sally Sutton and RESCUE POP-UP VEHICLES by Matthew Reinhart

And I hope that my newly-acquired copy of JAMRACH’S MENAGERIE by Carol Birch lives up to all the hype I’ve just fabricated. 😉

“I was born twice. First in a wooden room that jutted out over the black water of the Thames, and then again eight years later in the Highway, when the tiger took me in his mouth and everything truly began.”

In conclusion, thanks to @mrpilkington and the wonderful staff at @UnabridgedBooks for all they do to help feed my severe book addiction.

By request, this tweetathon will be posted on my blog shortly.

One last thing… When I buy books for Noah from an actual bookstore, he gets more than just some books to read.

He gets an experience. He loves finding his own books and exploring the nooks and crannies between shelves and tables and displays.

He remembers which books he bought personally. When choosing a bedtime book, he’ll say:

“Rah-Rah got it at the bookstore. Unabridged Bookstore!”

So. There’s that.

Disclaimer: @mrpilkington did not pay me to tweet glowing reviews of @UnabridgedBooks.

But if anyone is paying, there’s more where that came from.

So there you have it.  I would love to hear about other positive book buying experiences at bricks & mortar stores, whether they be indie, chain, or used.  Drop a comment to share what gem you discovered while browsing!  Also be sure to participate in #IndieThursday and #FridayReads this week and every week.  All the cool kids are doing it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to crack open…

1 Comment

Posted by on December 7, 2011 in Bookstore Spotlight


Tags: , , , , , ,

One response to “Ode to an Indie

  1. Jamie Yates

    December 7, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    “… and sometimes I splurge and get one for myself, too.” I’m sure the word “sometimes” should be taken with a grain of salt. 🙂


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