Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Local Bookstore - The Novel Neighbor

One of the saddest things to happen in the 21st Century is the demise of local independent bookshops.  My favorite nearby local bookshop, Puddn'head Books, closed a year or so ago.  Then the downtown branch of Left Bank Books closed. I still go to the original Left Bank Books in the Central West End but not as often as I probably should because, well, I don't live in the West End. 

As I said when Puddn'head Books opened:  "The bookstore of my imagination is small, with a friendly proprietor who likes the kind of books I like, in an easily accessed location with a lot of books that excite me." 

I am excited to tell you that Webster Groves has a new independent bookstore called The Novel Neighbor at the corner of Dale and Big Bend.  I missed the announcement but my sister had heard about it from a friend of hers so we went to check it out last week.  It's a charming little store that sits on a street corner and has decent parking.  It's not only a bookstore - which is probably good in this economy.   As its website says:

The Novel Neighbor is a unique concept and space that carries new adult and childrens’ books, unique works from local artists (including our own “artist(s) in residence”). We offer an amazing community space for book clubs, classes, author events, after-school activities, tastings, parties, showers, and more! We also, include cozy areas for reading – and a fantastic kids’ section with plenty of materials for little ones (and those grown) to read, experience, and explore.
We met the owner, Holland, who was just lovely.  And passionate about what she is doing.  She realizes she needs a business plan built on diversity to bring people into the store.  It worked with us because my sister heard about the store from a local photographer-friend of hers.  The shop has a nice community-use space and they plan to have some really interesting speakers in the evening.  I'm definitely going to check that out. 

The selection of books is not incredibly large (which is very wise of her) but in looking through the shelves, they were "my" kind of books.  So I know that I'll never have trouble finding something there.  And she'll order what she doesn't have. 

One thing I loved is that she is partially funded through kickstarter and she allows some of her funders to have special shelves where they can tell the world what kind of books they like.  I have to say that her backers have the same taste in books that I do!

I really hope the community supports this store.  I don't live in Webster Groves but I live nearby.  If any community in the St. Louis area should be able to support a local bookseller, it should be Webster and environs. 

Check it out:  The Novel Neighbor, 7905 Big Bend Boulevard, Webster Groves Missouri 63119
7905 Big Bend Blvd. Webster Groves MO 63119