If you haven’t visited a local independent bookstore recently, you may want to plan a trip soon to get reaquainted with browsing the shelves for something exciting to read rather than downloading the latest bestseller or ordering it online. We have an expert on hand to remind us what we have been missing out on in our technology-advanced modern world!
We got the chance to speak to debut author, seasoned journalist, and independent bookstore fanatic, Nichole Bernier. Her book, entitled The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D., has taken independent booksellers by storm and we just can’t get enough!
Bernier's books sees the central protagonist, Kate, a mother of two, deal with the loss of her best friend and sets herself the task of reading her friend’s journals that summer. As Kate devours the diaries, she comes to terms with the fact that there was a lot she did not know about her close friend and such revelations lead her to reevaluate what she has come to accept as life’s simple truths. Are some secrets better left untold? Can women balance a career and motherhood and just how much are they forced to give up? But most importantly, how well can we ever really know a person? Bernier handles these hard hitting questions and universal themes with an effortless grace that translates into a thoughtful yet complicated page-turner.
When asked her thoughts on the state of bookshops these days, Bernier told us:
“Bookstores have never been under as much pressure to survive as they are today. Online vendors who don’t have to pay for retail shops are using physical bookstores as their showroom, by offering customers apps to scan the ISBN numbers on books in bookstores, then buy them more cheaply online.
“Bookstores offer such personality and selection and expertise — imagine your area without one? Or maybe it’s already lost its bookstore. It isn’t inconceivable that the sci-fi day will come, in our children’s future, when someone asks, Wouldn’t it be cool to invent a place where you can actually WALK IN and buy books?”
So with this in mind, we had a look around and found some great little book nooks for you to visit this summer! But don’t draw the line there; remember to keep an eye out for these hidden gems when you’re on your travels and prevent the independent bookstore from becoming a dying breed.
The Montauk Bookshop is certainly more than what meets the eye. With a great selection, ranging from poetry to fashion to fiction to picture books, you’re sure to find whatever it is you’re looking for. But that’s not even our favorite part; they have an extensive collection of books specializing on the Montauk area, so if you’re interested in brushing up on some of your local history or learning a bit more about your town, stop by and pick up a book or two! (You’ll definitely impress the neighbors.)
Bookhampton is the Hamptons most popular set of independent bookstores and it’s not hard to see why. With a store in East Hampton, Southampton, Mattituck and Sag Harbor, there’s sure to be one near you. These stores also tend to place an emphasis on some of the local culture and history which extends beyond books. Filled with relevant pictures and paraphernalia, you definitely get a taste of the Hamptons when you visit one of these stores. They’re open seven days a week and host many of the Hamptons’ literary events, so there’s really no excuse not to make a visit to one of these cozy nooks!
Books & Books is a beautiful store with such a wide selection that it can be a tad overwhelming. Luckily this bookshop is staffed by knowledgeable and helpful book fanatics, who will be able to point you in the right direction, whether that be towards your literary comfort zone or to new and exciting genres. And feel free to check out their staff picks, which we in turn highly recommend. But that’s not all; this store also sells good quality stationary and homemade cards.
GalTime's Top Tip: Go these bookshops with an open mind and intention to browse, because although they may not always have the specific book you had in mind, the staff have a surprisingly firm handle on what’s out there and are apt at making suggestions!