“With all the reasons to travel to Nashville, one might be surprised to learn that some people come just to see a small independent bookstore,” writes bestselling novelist Ann Patchett in a recent New York Times essay. She should know. She and business partner Karen Hayes own the store. As SmallBusiness.com originates from Nashville and the store, Parnassus Books, is one of our favorite #buylocal / #shoplocal places in town, we totally agree that Karen’s and Ann’s bookstore is bulging with benefits that go far beyond anything found in a big box retail store.
For the New York Times, Ann shared some of her favorite independent “destination bookstores” — shops worth making a part of your travels. It is also a great list of independent businesses where you can shop local this holiday season.
Children’s Book Stores
Patchett | “Before we opened Parnassus, I made a fact-finding tour of American bookstores. The best advice I got was this: If you want customers, you have to raise them yourself. That means a strong children’s section.”
Patchett | “TurnRow Book Company is one of the most beautiful bookstores I know, and the sheer unlikelihood of its presence makes a traveler feel she’s stumbled into an oasis in the Mississippi Delta.”
TurnRow Book Company | Greenwood, Miss.
Square Books | Oxford Miss.
Square Books Jr. (Children’s books) | Oxford Miss.
Off Square (Special collections, events) | Oxford Miss.
Last Bookstore | Los Angeles
An Unlikely Story Bookstore | Plainville, Mass.
192 Books, Manhattan
Patchett | “Sometimes what’s lost in square footage is made up for by a brilliant staff, or maybe it’s just that the people who work in tiny stores really do know exactly where every book is located.”
Politics and Prose, Washington DC (Wikimedia Commons)
Patchett | “Politics & Prose is where the Obamas shop, and it’s where the movers and shakers of our nation’s capital come to see what’s really going on. It also happens to be where I eat lunch, as they have the best bookstore cafe I know.”
Ann Patchett’s Personal Favorites
Patchett | “I have made it a point to go to bookstores in every town I’ve ever driven through. I go both as a writer and a reader, for business and for pleasure, and I have been in love with too many to make a comprehensive list here. Still, I have to call out some of my favorites.”
Photo: Ann Patchett and Sparky, AnnPatchett.com