Book at your local bookstore

The Little Bookstore offers readers a unique environment to discover new favorites. Photo by Jada Gangaza.

Samantha Cohen | Staff Reporter |

“The power of a good book” is a saying in today’s society. Books serve many different purposes – from entertainment to learning. But where does the book come from? How powerful is a good bookstore?

Buying books is as easy as going to your local chain, Barnes and Noble. These chain bookstores have all the genres one could possibly want: from romance to sci-fi, from mystery to historical fiction. But what chain bookstores don’t have is a connection to the local community.

Enter independent bookstores. These bookstores are not owned by big corporations, but by small businesses owned by someone in the local community.local bookstores such as Irvington Books and Vinyls In Indianapolis, supporting local communities.

Irvington Books and Vinyl owner Elysia Smith explains how her store supports the local Indianapolis community.

“An independent bookstore can guarantee direct funding to the community,” Smith said. “In fact, they [give] Independent bookstores alone make 50% more donations than corporations. For example, we do various community outreach. We have a pantry in front of our store and I grow vegetables and sell them as paid as possible.The proceeds we get from these sales support the pantry, just one example [independent] Bookstores across the country are making sure they are indeed community assets. ”

Some independent bookstores sell more than just books. Often, independent bookstores sell records or other items like local art.

“We do a lot of local art,” Smith said. “I help local artists make their own screens and prints. We have drawers in our store, and each drawer is painted by a local artist. Each has their fingerprints inside. There are eight of them. We sell some handmade Small stuff, but I like to focus on paper [artworks] – so mostly magazines and print. ”

Although local bookstores are charming and attract a wide variety of people, they often can’t compete with the prices of places like Barnes and Noble or Amazon.according to New York Times, Amazon has beaten independent bookstores on price in recent years. Because bookstore chains and Amazon are cheaper, customers often favor large companies over small local businesses. However, Smith argues that small bookstores offer something that Amazon or Barnes & Noble cannot capture.

“I think I’ve been focusing on the experiential business,” Smith said. “I want people to come in and feel the vibe of the space and enjoy the exploration. It really can’t be compared to shopping online. Amazon has been a huge part of the industry since I started…it continues to impact every small independent retailer .”

Despite corporate competition, independent bookstores offer a wider selection than new mainstream titles.

Miranda Emerick, a sophomore creative writing and race, gender and sexuality major, says why shopping at independent bookstores is good for customers.

“I think it’s fun [shop at independent bookstores] Because they often choose different books,” Emerick said. “Barnes and Noble have yours TikTok Books and popular authors like Sarah J. Maas, but they don’t often carry smaller authors.Many independent bookstores I’ve been to have books I can’t find [at Barnes and Noble] and books I’ve never heard of.there is one [book], “Unmapped Chronicles”, which I found at an independent bookstore, and I love that book.I think [the book] It’s fun, but you can’t find it [at Barnes and Noble] Because it’s not a big name. “

Different independent bookstores serve different purposes.some places like pen and pinkwhich sells antique books and other antique-related items, while other bookstores such as Kid’s Ink children’s bookstore, which sells children’s books and toys. Independent bookstores offer readers the opportunity to expand their bookshelves.

Because of this targeted inventory, independent bookstores outperform chain bookstores, said Kayla Miller, a double major in middle school education and history.

“I’ve started collecting books,” Miller said. “A lot of times in new and used independent bookstores you can find copies of some cool old collectors or copies you don’t normally see [in bigger corporate bookstores]. ”

Independent bookstores offer unique experiences that customers cannot find through online shopping.

Although there are few local independent bookstores in the Indy area, there are some hidden gems to visit around the city:

Irvington Books and Vinyls

black dog book

pen and pink

Kid’s Ink children’s bookstore

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