Bookstores Are More Than Books (Though Books Are Pretty Great)

By Infrogmation of New Orleans (Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans) [GFDL (, CC BY-SA 2.0 (, CC BY-SA 2.5 ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
Bookstores are great. The best thing, of course, is the fact that they’re filled with books. But they’re also great community spaces, and often the hosts of fun events.

Last month, a fashioner designer held a runway show in the Rare Books room of The Strand, according to Yahoo!. The models held books while they walked, and the show was even inspired by a book, The Darling, by Russell Banks. (The Strand, by the way, doesn’t just sell books. It’s also known for its tote bags, and they have about 50 different designs.)

Another bookstore, BookBar, in Denver, Colorado, plans to showcase micro theatre in October and November of this year, according to Denver Center for Performing Arts. Colorado artists submit short plays, and five will be chosen to be produced. The idea is to engage the local artist community and bring people together in new ways.

Bookstores can also play a part in dinner parties. The owner of Harbor Books in Sag Harbor, New York, selects books for hosts of dinner parties in the Hamptons, according to the Daily Beast. The hosts then buy a book for each guest and give it away as a gift. According to the same article, bookstores have very innovative methods of selling their products, which include hosting language classes, summer camp for kids, and trips abroad based on literary themes.

Another way to engage the community is to have volunteers help run it. Friends of the Berkeley Public Library in Berkeley, California, does just that. According to Berkeleyside, the goal is to make books affordable for everyone and raise money for Berkeley library programs. They host lectures and film showings, and has volunteers from Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Speaking of having non-staffers run bookstores, Wigtown, in the UK (known as Scotland’s National Book Town) is home to The Open Book. If you visit Wigtown you can Airbnb The Open Book and run the shop as part of your holiday.

Bookstores have been around for a long time. According to The Everywhereist, the world’s oldest bookstore is in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s called Libraria Bertrand, and has been around since 1732.

Some bookstores have specialities, such as maps, music, and cookbooks. 6sqft has a list of the 12 best speciality bookstores in New York City alone. Of course, there are many great bookstores out there. The Daily Beast has a list of the best ones in the U.S.

If all these ideas excite you, you can always open your own bookstore! Bookriot offers a helpful list to get you started.


One Reply to “Bookstores Are More Than Books (Though Books Are Pretty Great)”

  1. That’s cool how different bookstores have their own events. Another good thing about bookstores (particularly independent stores) is that the employees actually read and know their stuff.

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