The blog Moby Lives has a nice post today about indie bookstores in my town of Asheville, NC. They profile four such shops, but I recently counted as many as eight in the city, and up to a dozen in the outlying areas.
They are a huge mix: two B&Ns, several used bookstores, a dedicated children’s bookstore (Spellbound), a revered rare/antiquarian (The Captain’s Bookshelf), a bookstore/wine bar (Battery Park Book Exchange) and a couple of indies selling new books, the most famous of which is Malaprop’s. The stores have interesting personalities. Accent on Books was in the book news a few years ago because they had logged numerous orders for the luxury edition of Carl Jung’s $195 Red Book when it was released in 2010. (Must have something to do with the fact that the city has a Jung center.)
I can’t really offer an explanation for the profusion of book haunts, but we do have a university and we’re the state’s leftiest city.
That does not mean these stores are not endangered. And it’s not a given that they are patronized particularly well. There’s a weird split in attitude between downtown and outside-the-city shoppers who don’t like to come downtown and pay for parking. When I recently mentored a high schooler who was writing her own children’s book, she suggested we meet at the B&N at the mall.
"What about Malaprop’s?" I said.
Adults have told me the same thing.