Monday, January 23, 2017

Guest post: HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE by LaToya Gay


Local bookstores are an invaluable fixture in any community. They are fantastic destinations for meeting new people and learning new things, and you can do much more than simply buying books there. Here are some ways you can take advantage of how great your local bookstore really is. 

Get to Know the Staff and Other Regulars
If you’re a regular at your local bookstore, be sure to get to know the people who work there and even the owner of the shop. They are well-read individuals who love to recommend their favorite titles to each other and customers. So, don’t be shy about asking them what they think about a certain series, book or author. Who knows? You might even end up with a lifelong friend!
The same goes for chatting with other customers. While browsing the Sci-Fi section for the latest titles from Joe Hart, why not strike up a conversation with someone who happens to be flipping through a book that you’ve been dying to read from A.G. Riddle? You already have something in common, so it’s a great way to meet new people who have similar interests. Of course, remember to be aware of their body language; some people don’t want to be bothered while they’re having a quiet moment alone to browse books.
Attend Events, or Host Your Own!
Independent bookstores are often a hive of activity, where locals host a wide range of events. Talk to the staff and find out what’s on over the course of the next month, and you’re sure to find something that will pique your interest. Book launches, poetry readings and panel discussions are just a few of the fascinating events that you can attend at your local bookstore, and they present you with the opportunity to meet plenty of new people with similar interests.
If the store doesn’t normally host events, why not host your own? Independent bookstore owners are always eager to attract new customers and you can help to bring them in by holding your own unique affair. They can be great locations for cocktail parties and album launches - depending on the artist’s noise level. Some people even get married at bookstores!

Go on a Bookstore Date
Bookstores can actually make for great date spots, especially if you’re a literature lover. Take your date to your favorite local bookstore and spend a few hours exploring before you head out for dinner. 
There are all sorts of fun activities that you and your date can take part in when you decide to spend a few hours at the bookstore together. You can visit the Languages section and have a conversation in new words that you’ve learned from the translation dictionaries, or take a trip to the Reference section and quiz each other based on facts from almanacs, encyclopedias or The Guinness Book of World Records. 
Then, of course, you can recommend your favorite books to each other. Decide to read one of the books over the course of the week, and spend your next having a book club discussion over dinner or drinks. You can even cook a meal together on an upcoming date, using a recipe that you’ve discovered from a cookbook during your time together at the bookstore.
Sign Up for a Book Subscription
Book subscriptions aren’t just available in online form as literary boxes. You can also find them in your local bookstore. Some stores offer you a new book based on the recommendations of their staff or regular customers, while others make sure to put aside the latest copy of a new highly-anticipated title. This is a great opportunity to discover new authors in an exciting way. You never know what you’re going to get each month, and you can really step outside of the box in more ways than one.
Join a Book Club, or Start Your Own.
Almost every independent bookstore is home to at least a couple of book clubs. Find out from staff when you can attend book club meetings, or ask them for the contact details of the person who hosts them.
If none of the book clubs that currently meet at your local bookstore are of interest to you, you can even start your own that appeals to your personal Fantasy or Sci-Fi tastes. Start by asking your friends, and then put out some flyers at the store to attract other customers to join your club.
Check Out the Community Board
Local bookstores certainly foster a sense of community, and you’re sure to find an events board somewhere in the shop. Every week or so, have a look at the board and see if there is anything that you may want to attend. They present a great way to discover new independent businesses and find out about interesting events. Bookstore patrons are some of the most diverse people you’ll ever get to know, so you can discover some intriguing new activities and venues by having a look at the community board.
Spread the Word
More and more independent bookstores are falling into the shadows of online shopping on Amazon and big name stores like Barnes & Noble. So, if you want to see your local bookstore thrive, then be sure to let people know about it!
If you know a friend is looking for a particular title, suggest they purchase it from your favorite shop. Recommend it as a spot for an event someone that you know may be hosting. Make sure that the people around you know that they have a fantastic literary resource and community hub right in the backyard.
Don’t forget that your local bookstore is a wonderful place full of new opportunities. Whether they help you discover new books or meet new people, it is important that you make the most of all the valuable experiences at your disposal at your favorite bookstore.
What’s your favorite independent in your local area? What makes it so great? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Author Bio: Latoya is a technology writer for Secure Thoughts and regular culture writer for other websites. She has a passion for reading Sci-Fi novels and while she enjoys the high-tech convenience of a Kindle, she never passes up the opportunity to visit her local bookstore.