Saturday, 15 August 2009

Bookshops II


Last week saw the launch of my blog series on favourite bookshops (interior photographs of the first to feature are forthcoming). For my second post in this series, I would like to share the independent bookshop I mentioned at the close of last month's Book-centric Memories post. Last year during a visit to Florida for three weeks, the middle week of which we spent in Sarasota on the Gulf Coast, I came across Sarasota News and Books on Main Street. Also a cafe with tables outside, this foliage-covered store was an instant hit and in one week I visited three times and would have more if it had been within walking distance from our apartment. I sampled (all in the nature of market research, of course) the bookstore, the newsstand, and the cafe stocking up on American editions of books (one that I was looking for, that was out of print in the UK), magazines that aren't available here or that are imported at an escalated price, and key lime pie at the cafe.

This is definitely a book lover's paradise and, open until late, it was a sociable hub; I imagine that the welcome air-conditioning helps in the intense humidity. My visit after dinner one evening was my favourite wander and the free bookmarks they give with their books contributed to my return. It had a reasonably good selection of books to choose from for a relatively small shop (it's on one floor) and browsing the books kept me as intently occupied as any of the bigger chains did during my visit (Borders was no different from here at home and Barnes & Noble had a fabulous range of notebooks and bookmarks but the books themselves left me a little cold as the overall layout reminded me of a warehouse). I only hope that next time I visit Sarasota that Sarasota News and Books is still thriving and that I can while away some hours in contented, air-conditioned bliss.

16 comments:

Green Road said...

Air-conditioned bookshops in Florida. It can't get any better!

The free bookmarks would have enticed me too. I love bookmarks! Was it all on one level? I love sprawling bookshops as much as I like multi-level ones :)

Paperback Reader said...

I was all about the air-conditioning whilst in Florida: our big, rented car, malls, cinemas, bookshops, inside Disney's Haunted Mansion, anywhere that was cool...

I love bookmarks too! I'm pretty sure that I have the bag from the shop somewhere will bookmarks in it for safe-keeping.
It was one level and wasn't that big but it was a great shop.

savidgereads said...

That sounds like a splendid shop. The last 'abroad' bookshop I was in was a huge Barnes and Noble in Philadelphia and I have to say it reminded me of a book clearance store and shockingly I left with nothing.

Paperback Reader said...

Yes, Barnes & Noble left me cold too. All future visits to North America will be spent hunting out the cool, independent stores like this one.

JoAnn said...

Sounds like a great place! We try to get to Florida during the winter ( I need a break from all the snow and cold) and it's fun to check out the local bookstores.

Paperback Reader said...

JoAnn, I am jealous! I'd love to go again but it won't be for another couple of years yet. Definitely visit the bookshop if you can.

kimbofo said...

Ah, book shop tourism - it's great, isn't it?

Never been to Florida, but this bookshop sounds like it would be worth the trip alone!

Darlene said...

'Escalated magazine prices' I sometimes feel as though I'm paying for bundles of UK periodicals to fly in on BA first-class, nice for a treat though. Oh the damage you could do in an American bookshop with your exchange rate!

Paperback Reader said...

Kim, book tourism is fabulous - I'm still jealous of your Dublin bookshop experience!

I plan to revisit the book shop and also to travel down to Miami and Key West one visit where I imagine I'll find some great bookshops.

Darlene, imported magazines are a lovely luxury. I couldn't do much damage just now with the exchange rate as it is! Last July though when I visited the shop it was almost $2 to £1 so I was in heaven!

verity said...

That sounds really fun! I like it when shops are open late enough for a browse after dinner; I was a big fan of doing that in Borders when I was a student (now it's 3 times as far away so I don't ever do that!)

Paperback Reader said...

Verity, I often did that in the Borders in Glasgow... so many hours, whatever the time of day, have been whiled away in that shop. If I manage home to Glasgow before Border potentially go bust then it will definitely feature in this series; it plays an informative part of my book buying experience (my book OCD for some reason does not extend to their sticky price labels on the back of books and some are a decade old!)

Kals said...

Oh wow, this looks so inviting and I adore free bookmarks! I'd love to go to Florida.My cousin( lucky her!)lives there and I've always wanted to visit. I guess with this bookstore, I might have just found more reason to :)

I get free bookmarks at my library and that's only next to my love of making bookmarks. That is so much more personal :)

claire said...

Sounds wonderful. I'll keep this bookstore in mind for when we go to Florida (someday). :D

Paperback Reader said...

kals, it is definitely an added bonus of visiting (the sun, the theme parks, and the food also help for me).

I received some beautiful handmade bookmarks recently and I love the personal touch.

Claire, definitely keep it in mind! I can't wait to return.

Carl V. said...

Another really fun feature of a bookstore that sounds absolutely wonderful! Love all the vines and the outdoor space looks like a great place to relax and unwind and people watch.

"interior photographs of the first to feature are forthcoming"

They better be!!! ;)

Paperback Reader said...

Thanks, Carl.
I hope to take the interior photographs on a visit to that bookshop next week!