Is anybody else confused about what’s going on with independent bookstores? It seems like everyone is talking about how they’re surviving with the e-book and Amazon boom, but no one can decide whether they’re going to die out or not. Personally, I hope that Chuck Wendig is right, and that indie bookstores will thrive in the post-Amazon market — by doing more than just selling books. My favorite bookstores are the ones that are a little quirky, have a killer selection of books, and are really tuned into the community around them. But I might be a little spoiled, because I grew up with a fantastic bookstore practically across the street from my high school.
This bookstore is definitely quirky – it has two names (Little Dickens and Givens Books) and some of the most unusual decor I’ve ever seen. It really hasn’t changed much since I was in elementary school, and it has definitely carved out a niche in the community. It has a permanent spot on my must-visit list whenever I go back to Lynchburg.
This is probably the most kid-friendly bookstore I’ve ever visited. There’s more than enough grown-up books for the parents to look at, but half the store is full of books and toys to keep the kiddos entertained. It’s so fun! And they also have the largest selection of teaching supplies in Lynchburg, which is great if you’re a teacher — or a teacher’s kid. Whenever my Mom would go shopping for teacher stuff I’d have an excuse to go book-shopping.
There are reading nooks with comfy armchairs scattered throughout the store, although it’s almost impossible to get a spot by the fireplace — I really lucked out the day I was here. Also, I love that there are Christmas presents stacked around the portrait of Edgar Allen Poe.
There’s also a great cafe called the Drowsy Poet in the back of the store. There are sandwiches named after famous authors and novels and yummy baked goods, but my favorite thing to get is the Milton milkshake – a coffee cinnamon milkshake that is to die for. I crave it, and I was so excited when I found out that Starbucks’ Cinnamon Dolce Latte is basically the perfect doppelganger. So even if I’m not in Lynchburg, I can get a Milton – minus the ice cream.
The photos don’t really do Little Dickens justice (I managed to snap a few on a last minute Christmas shopping trip when I was in town), but it is the most colorful, wacky, fun bookstore ever. Now whenever I visit a new place I always seek out the independent bookstores (for the record, Nicole’s Literary City Guides are my secret weapon for finding new bookstores, restaurants, cafes, even libraries). I’ve found one or two favorite indie bookstores in Houston that I love, so I might have to write about them sometime soon. As long as I don’t get chased out of the store for taking pictures – one store has a very strict no-photo policies. So we’ll see!