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For the Love of Fountain Bookstore & Giveaway

Living in a city without an independent bookstore (Roanoke’s last store closed in early January and I never really felt very comfortable there), I often must appreciate them from afar. I admit to a twinge of jealousy whenever I read about book events and shopping sprees. I long to be able to participate  in #IndieThursday more often. To have “my own” bookstore would be a wonderful thing. Fortunately, many indie bookstores have taken me in while I’m in town, giving me a small taste of the life.

Sarah McCoy at Fountain Bookstore

There is one store that has become both (relatively) near to me and dear to my heart over the last two years: Fountain Bookstore. I first found out about them when Kelly, the owner of Fountain Bookstore, partnered with Rebecca from The Book Lady’s Blog. My first interaction with them took place via Twitter. A coworker of mine lost her son unexpectedly. He left behind two daughters the same age as my own girls. I wanted to find the perfect book for them. Kelly and her staff not only found the book I was looking for (City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems), but at my request they even gave me a touch of the hand sold experience.  I loved it.

Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the bookstore in person several times. It’s located on gorgeous East Cary Street. It’s location and its history give the bookstore a charming, romantic feel. If I’m in Richmond, stopping by is a must. I love browsing the Staff Picks section, Rebecca’s recommendations, and the assortment of autographed copies. It is well worth the 6 hour round trip drive to attend their author events. I could spend so much money there. I secretly believe that is the true reason why my husband would never consider moving to Richmond.

  • Without Fountain Bookstore, Simon Van Booy never would have kissed me on the cheek (Yes, I do mention that every chance I get, thank you very much. Maybe I even create those opportunities…).
  • Without Fountain Bookstore, Sarah McCoy never would have hugged the life out of me. Really, if you get a chance to see Sarah in person, you must.
  • Without Fountain Bookstore, I wouldn’t have a copy of The Book of Lost Fragrances by M. J. Rose along with a perfume sample to offer to you today.

You see, the other great thing about indie bookstores is their warm customer service. In March, author Eleanor Brown was in Richmond promoting the paperback edition of The Weird Sisters. I’ve not had great luck meeting Eleanor in person, so I pre-ordered a signed copy from Fountain. When my package arrived, I found M. J. Rose’s book instead. I contacted the bookstore to arrange an exchange and they graciously told me to keep The Book of Lost Fragrances and promptly mailed out my copy of The Weird Sisters. Having already read and loved M. J. Rose’s latest, I immediately thought about taking this an opportunity to share with you what makes indie bookstores, and Fountain Bookstore in particular, so very special. I am proud to be their customer.

On this #IndieThursday, leave a comment for your chance to win The Book of Lost Fragrances and its cute little perfume sample. In your comment, I ask that you tell me what you love about independent bookstores. I’ll tweet your reasons throughout the day. If you have the great good fortune of knowing Fountain Bookstore, I’d really love to hear what you love about it. :)

27 Comments

  • At 2012.04.12 06:43, Sandy said:

    I’ve met Kelly at SIBA and she is great! I find myself completely envious of that blogger/bookstore relationship that I lack. We had one indie bookstore here in Orlando and it went out of business a couple of years ago. I don’t even have one that I could visit via reasonable road trip. My only consolation is Sandmeyer Bookstore in Chicago, which I visit every time I am there (a couple times a year) and have a good relationship with the owner. Guess I need to move to Chicago.

    • At 2012.04.12 19:23, Literate Housewife said:

      I love Kelly and glad you got a chance to know her, too. From my perspective, moving to Chicago wouldn’t be a bad thing. :) A little colder in the winter, though.

    • At 2012.04.12 07:55, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

      Kelly and Rebecca are the perfect team! (Did you know Kelly’s a Hokie?) I’d love to visit Fountain Bookstore one day. I love my indie (Fiction Addiction) because they know who I am when I walk in the door, and often have a stack of suggested books waiting for me. If I’m looking for something, they get it for me or take me to it – they never say, “it’s in the food section.” They also have the best author events ever!!

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      • At 2012.04.12 19:23, Literate Housewife said:

        I did know that Kelly was a Hokie. Even spookier, she knows my husband. It’s a small, small world.

      • At 2012.04.12 09:29, Jenn's Bookshelves said:

        Oh, how do I adore this post! Having visited Fountain myself, I completely agree with you about the feeling you get upon entering the store! I’m so happy you found one another!

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        • At 2012.04.12 19:26, Literate Housewife said:

          Thanks so much, Jenn! I’m so happy to have a good excuse to express my love of MY indie bookstore. :)

        • At 2012.04.12 09:38, Brad Parks said:

          Long live Fountain Bookstore! Thanks for this great post extolling a true Virginia treasure…

          • At 2012.04.12 19:27, Literate Housewife said:

            Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad to have found another fan of Fountain Bookstore!

          • At 2012.04.12 09:56, Jill said:

            I am lucky to have a great independent bookstore, Anderson’s Bookshop, in my home town. The staff is great and they always have terrific recommendations whether I’m looking for a gift for a reluctant reader or someone who has read just about everything.

            • At 2012.04.12 19:30, Literate Housewife said:

              You are lucky! I do like the personal recommendations you can get at an indie bookstore, too!

            • At 2012.04.12 11:39, Pearl said:

              What a wonderful post. Indies are so vital and meaningful. In my town there is a special Indie, Page One which hosts authors and book signings. Browsing is always a must and the selection is fascinating and diverse.

              • At 2012.04.12 19:34, Literate Housewife said:

                Page One sounds wonderful, Pearl! I’m glad you have a great place to explore books and authors.

              • At 2012.04.12 13:11, jenn aka the picky girl said:

                This post makes me so sad that I don’t have an indie. Of course, I love Murder by the Book in Houston, but I’d love to have one here where I live. As it is, I can only make runs to Murder by the Book infrequently, but they have such fantastic authors when I get a chance to go over there.

                • At 2012.04.12 19:37, Literate Housewife said:

                  We are in the same boat. Maybe someday the both of us will win big at the lottery and start our own indie bookstores. :)

                • At 2012.04.12 15:24, Steve Weddle said:

                  FOUNTAIN BOOKSTORE in Richmond is great. Like many great indie bookstores, it’s right across the street from an Irish pub.

                  When I lived in Baton Rouge, we were blessed with Elliott’s, which was right next to Coffee Call, where you could get the best beignets and cafe au lait in town.

                  Twice Told Tales in Kilmarnock, VA was right across from Lee’s diner.

                  Indie bookstores must be required to be located near great food/drinks.

                  • At 2012.04.12 19:40, Literate Housewife said:

                    You know, I think you’re on to something, Steve. The one indie that used to be in the area was inside a strip mall and closer to Weight Watchers than any place to get a good meal or drink. Thanks so much for stopping by and opening my eyes! :)

                  • At 2012.04.12 19:45, Anne said:

                    For our medium sized town we have a very special Indie Bookstore, Bookworks, which is warm, inviting and soothing. Filled to the rafters with books of all types this place is such an appealing and irresistible haven. I love visiting and perusing the shelves filled with treasures.

                    • At 2012.04.12 19:51, Literate Housewife said:

                      Oh, you make Bookworks sound amazing! You are such a lucky reader!

                    • At 2012.04.12 20:26, Elisabeth said:

                      I don’t have an indie in my town just BN, but I love the coziness, book suggestions, unique personality these bookstores have!

                      • At 2012.04.12 23:42, Anita said:

                        I met Sarah in Dallas,she is amazing. I’d love to win this book. Thanks so much,and I love this post.

                        • At 2012.04.13 13:54, Anita said:

                          I meant to add we are lacking an Indie in the Orlando area. It makes me very sad and jealous when I read others book events

                        • At 2012.04.13 04:38, Leeswammes (Judith) said:

                          What a great tribute to what seems to be a great book store! I love your post with your personal experiences with the shop. Thanks for sharing.

                          As I’m not in the US I assume (quite happily) that the giveaway is not for me. If I happen to be wrong, I’d love to be included. :-)

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                          • At 2012.04.13 05:38, Serena said:

                            What a great giveaway and what a wonderful mistake! What do I love about Indie’s: the feeling of home, the camaraderie among book lovers who own a store and those that frequent it. The recommendations. The conversation, and of course Sarah McCoy, who is a lovely hugger! I’d like to be entered! Thanks for hosting and talking about Fountain Bookstore!

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                            • At 2012.04.13 09:00, Janet S. said:

                              Thanks for the great giveaway! I have two indie bookstores near me, Changing Hands in Tempe, AZ and Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ….both are wonderful and unique. Changing Hands sells a combination of new and used books and also has adorable gift items. Poisoned Pen has wonderful intimate author events.

                              • At 2012.04.13 10:21, Karen White said:

                                Love this post! We have an adorable indie bookstore here in West LA within walking distance called Children’s Book World. Even though I’d love to have a grown up bookstore nearby, its one of those places where you can walk in and say, “I’m looking for a book for a 5 year old boy who likes rats?” and they’ll have three or four options for you.
                                I’ve just discovered Diesel, A Bookstore, in (sort of) nearby Brentwood, because I’ll be picking up my World Book Night books there next week. I did have a nice chat with one of the sellers, but I don’t know much about them.
                                My favorite bookstore of recent days is in Asheville, NC. I forget what it’s called, but it has not only used books, but a wine bar and lovely little snacks. PLUS, dogs are allowed. If I lived in Asheville, I would be there all the time.

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                                • At 2012.04.21 23:06, Emily said:

                                  Oh, City Dog, Country Frog nearly made me cry the first time I read it. It completely caught me off guard, since Mo Willems normally writes hilarious books. It’s good, though.

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                                  • At 2012.04.23 21:50, Dawn - She Is Too Fond of Books said:

                                    What a wonderful ‘above and beyond’ story about a special indie!

                                    (no need to enter my name in the giveaway; I’ve enjoyed M.J.’s books)

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