March 15, 2014

What Do You Look For in a Bookstore?

As some of you already know, my dream job is to open a bookstore, and BELIEVE ME when I say I will make it happen. I'm that kind of person. But I'm also the kind of person that lives way out - and I've only ever been in a total of three bookstores in my entire life - about one time each. SO. This puts me in the awkward position of knowing EXACTLY what I like in a bookstore, but nothing about what anyone else likes. I guess I'll include pictures, because I'm very strange like that. :P

First off, I noticed that two out of the three bookstores I went to had more nerd paraphernalia than they had books... and I asked myself, "is this really all necessary?" I didn't even bother to look at it. I sped right to the books, but I do want to have some fandom items in my store. (Obviously I'm not interested in a lot of the stuff that they had. I would have things that I liked.) But I don't feel like it's okay for a bookstore to have more DVDs and plushes and board games for Duck Dynasty or whatever than books. Blegh. How do you guys feel about nerdy/fandom/just cool items like that? Here are a few examples of stuff I would want to stock. I also want to stock locally made jewelry and art, with a few other cool things. (My dream location is Mountain View, AR, which is Folk music capital of the world. It's beautiful, and artsy and oh-so-perfect.)

These all came from my Bookish is BEAUTIFUL! and My Bookstore Inspiration boards on Pinterest.

There's a part of me that also wants to have some nerdy Star Wars fandom items as well, and maybe others. I'm into all of it. So which of these items do you like the style of? Would you buy any of them? (Obviously, I'm not planning on going into business RIGHT NOW or anything, but I'd like a general idea.)

And being me, I'd really like to have something very whimsical in nature - I'm very odd like that, and though it's going to take a lot of work, I want a store that feels magical when you walk into it. Wall to wall books, comfy chairs, well-lit and full of... stuff. There's just something very comfortable about a building that looks lived in - I love antique stores. So SORT of like that, but with new books as well - here are a few of the stores I've seen online that seem "magical" to me, or that have wonderful decorating ideas. (Of the three I was in... meh. Chain stores - no heart.)

Obviously the Chevy bench has nothing to do with books, but isn't it beautiful? But look at some of these rooms full of books... don't you just want to go in, and never come out again? Because I would. That's the kind of feel that I want in my bookstore.  I want quotes written on the walls, and words every where. I want someplace that people can walk into and just... lose themselves in. I want shelves that require a library ladder, and snarky shelf titles, like "Vampire Books that Don't Suck" or (for the Historical Romance) "Bodice Rippers". Just something that's completely me in every way.

I've toyed with the idea of a yogurt bar, or having a small cafe, with desserts and coffee drinks. Maybe, maybe not. But the end result is that I want to have so many books, and that I want people to be comfortable there. So... would you shop in my store?

What exactly do you look for in a bookstore? Fandom items, or books? Do you think coffee shops are necessary? Is there just something that you would love to see in a store?


  1. Oh my gosh, Megan, I absolutely LOVE this. I agree about the loads of fandom that clutters bookstores. I like the pictures you posted because THOSE would be the things I'd want to buy...not Big Bang bobbleheads. I also think that "whimsical" bookstores are the best and that picture you posted of the 2 story library is PERFECT. Having a library ladder and stairs may deter some people because of knees or being old or something, but I personally LOVE it. It does feel magical. Your ideas are fabulous. Good luck on your future business venture :)

  2. I live in Belgium and I have such a hard time finding English books, except two of my favorite stores. Sterling Books and Waterstones. What I love about Sterling Books is that they have free beautiful bookmarks that the people working there have designed. I just LOVE that. They also recently gotten a coffee shop, which is totally awesome but the downside is that there's way less room for the books they're selling, since it was kinda a tiny shop to begin with.
    I also love fandom stuff in a bookstore (like waterstones), though I will always look more to the books than that but it would be a great extra to have in a bookstore. I especially love the bags you posted. One time I saw a bag with the cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland but didn't buy it. I still feel bad over it. Le sigh.

    Hope you one day can achieve your dream! =D


    I have really only been to chain bookstores, like Barnes & Noble, because we don't have any indie bookstores where I live, or even a good used bookstore. The few used bookstores I have been to were all books with nothing else. They were cramped, dark, and not really appealing. Comfortable, well-lit, and organized are the most important things to me.

    I like the type of things you already mentioned you would like to stock. They're book related, so they work. There's nothing wrong with stocking DVDs and all the other things B&N has these days, but I can buy those things anywhere (and at better prices). I'm not likely to find Nancy Drew pillows or a bookish bag at Target.

  4. Oh how exciting! Owning a book store is like a beautiful dream! Ok, so I like bookstores that are well organized and not overwhelming. If I can't easily find what I'm looking for, I get flustered, and then all those rows of books are staring me down and making me want to run and hide. I love your idea of snarky shelf titles. AND YES to geek paraphernalia, but you're right there shouldn't be too much of that. Just a little here and there at the ends and tops of shelves. Oh I want to shop in your store already.

  5. I love fandom swag!Unfortunately,I don't have many;(
    I love it when bookstores have sofas.One of my favourite bookstores here have an entire floor dedicated to YA and adult fiction and they have this soft carpet that makes you want to sit on it while searching for books(which I always do:)),and a few really comfy armchairs to sit.I just love that store.
    I also love stores where you can place orders.I think it's a great idea.

  6. Me either. I have lots of tshirts with cartoons on them, though. I never realized how weird that was before. O.O
    I've never been in one with a sofa, but I just love the idea. Haha, I'm not really into carpet? Is that weird? I'll totally sit on the floor, though. I want to visit that store! Placing orders is a good idea - I mean, what if they don't have what you want... but they can order it for you? How awesome is that? :)

  7. It is a beautiful dream! Ha, that overrules the pictures that I showed, lol. Those pictures are all of a beautiful chaos. Teehee. Aaww, thanks! I want it to be really unique, you know? Aww, I want for you to shop at my store too! Thanks for the input, sweets! :)

  8. I KNOW, RIGHT? They're so awesome! I love that they have the classic covers on them!!

    That's me too. But I have this picture of what the perfect indie bookstore would like to me, you know? LOL. Ick. Why would you want to shop in a dark bookstore? They definitely need to be well lit, otherwise it's just terrible to shop in.

    Exactly! I'm much more likely to buy a dvd at a dvd store, rather than a book store. It's not like I'm going to look for a dvd at a book store. I mean, in reality that doesn't even make sense. Thanks for your opinion, darling! And those pillows really are fab! :D

  9. THAT SOUNDS AMAZING. Not that I'm much of a designer, but that really is a great idea. And a fun one too - it must be awesome to work there. :) Oh. Coffee shops are a hard decision for me. I mean, I don't care for coffee. But hot chocolate? Hot chocolate and desserts are awesome.

    Haha, you totally should have bought it! Was it the cheshire from the animated movie? Because that one is honestly my favorite cheshire, I think. His animation was awesome. Maybe you'll see it again! :D I hope so too, Steph!

  10. Hahah, thanks! I'm so glad that you get it too! And I don't even really know what Big Bang is... why would I want a bobblehead? Aww, thanks! It's built in an old cathedral, I believe! The architecture of that store is beautiful! :) Thanks! :)

  11. lol. They're stopping with the coffee shop I heard and they're moving to a new place across the street. I guess it wasn't working out for them.

    It was from the animated movie, yes! I actually went back in the same week and couldn't find it. I was getting paranoid, thinking I had imagined it. xD

  12. Haha, well. It's cool that they're getting a bigger place! :) You could have... but I bet it was an awesome bag. :D

  13. I'd proudly wear those kind of t-shirts.Once my mother painted me a Harry Potter inspired t-shirt for my birthday.I loved it:)
    It's not weird at all:)Of course,if you ever decide to visit Sri Lanka,I'll gladly take you there:)
    That's exactly what I thought.That would be amazing,right?I've never been to a store like that though:(