This will mean nothing to you, that The Bookery has closed, because in all likelihood you do not live close enough to Mt. Holly, New Jersey to have visited ever. You’ll just have to take my word for it: this was a great store, and if you had visited it, you would miss it.
The Bookery was this teeny tiny shop in Mill Race Village, a collection of cute little shops in historic buildings in Mt. Holly. It was about the size of my living room, with a large portion devoted to children’s and YA books, another chunk devoted to obscure nonfiction, and a final chunk devoted to the checkout register and baby’s knit caps. It was delicious.
Additionally, it’s the site of the Thomas Budd house, which has some local historical significance as well as (allegedly) some supernatural activity. (Haunting is big in Mt. Holly. They’ve got a haunted prison, several actual haunted homes, and a ghost hunting store. I’m not making this up.)
Anyhoo, with the closing of Borders, the only big box bookstore near me is Barnes & Noble. Not only is B&N the only big box store nearby, it is practically the ONLY bookstore nearby. I realize this is true for many other people as well. It seems dangerous that one bookstore should have that much market share. Sure, we can all buy from amazon — and many of us do– but there is such a thing as a book emergency. Sometimes I just need a book now. And there is such a thing as book therapy. Sometimes I need the cathartic experience of browsing through books to ease my troubled soul. Amazon can’t help me in either case. I need a good brick and mortar space for that.
Which is where independent booksellers come in, for me, at least. Some people, particularly those blessed to live in “book places” (Boston, NYC, Portland Oregon), are able to shop exclusively from indies, but that’s just not practical for me. For one thing, I move around like crazy. I’ve been in New Jersey for over a year, and until just this week was only aware of two indie shops in the area. When The Bookery closed, I decided enough was enough. If I don’t want B&N to turn into Microsoft (with all that implies), then I need to use indies more. If I’m going to do that, I need to know where they are. Hence, a new miniseries here on SWR: Buy Books Here. I’ll discover a few new bookstores, talk with the sellers when possible, and tell you all about what I learn. In return, you can shop from them (if you want) or you can tell me about your favorite indie shops. I think it will be a fun little trip.
So far, I’ve discovered: Second Time Books in Mt. Laurel, NJ; The Old Book Shop of Bordentown in Bordentown, NJ; Hanold Bookstores in Moorestown, NJ; The Book Shop in Riverside, NJ; and The Book Garden in Cream Ridge, NJ. I’ll let you know what I discover! If you’re in New Jersey and know of other shops you think I should feature, please let me know.
Note: I tried to contact the (former) owners of The Bookery about this series, but was unable to reach them. If you read this, let’s get in touch!