Friday, April 26, 2013

Rebecca Dowling talks about why the Hockessin Book Shelf is so cool

I love indie bookstores, as everyone knows, and I especially love this one, the Hockessin Book Shelf. Even better, I'm going to be reading there June 19th! I love Rebecca Dowling and she was gracious enough to let me pepper her with questions. Thank you so, so much, Rebecca!

Your store seems to be and do so many great things! Tell us about it!:
The Hockessin Book Shelf is a New & Used bookstore in Hockessin, DE and like our state, the store is a small wonder.  We only have 826 sq. feet of inventory space!  So most of our activities & events are off site. We have become known for our community partnerships: story time at the creamery, book groups at the gourmet food shop & cafe's, cookbook book club at the Nature Society & "An Evening With The Author" at one of our historic buildings. For us the Shop Local movement is a way of life & our store's health is dependent on the health of our neighbors.  

Your store is also famous for being a browser's paradise--Can you tell what books belong with what customer?
Most of the time, we've been selling to some of our customers for years or since they were kids and because of the extended conversations that can only happen IN a store.  Just a few pointed questions and we are usually on our way to a perfect match :).  I have an amazing staff too.  They love books & are so well rounded in their reading habits, we have all the niches covered from genre to lit. to children's books.  And I do think that the small size of the store helps with this....................we only have to go a short distance to pull the perfect book off the shelves.

What three books are you pressing into everyone's hands and why?
What My Mother Gave Me - edited by Elizabeth Benedict.  It is the perfect Mother's Day gift!!!!  It not only features an essay by you Caroline but one by Elissa Schappell too. She grew up right here in Hockessin!

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters.  Just out in paperback & will be huge for book groups if I have anything to say about it.

A Land More Kind Then Home  by Wiley Cash because it is the Eat Drink Read book group pick for May.

Heartbroken by Lisa Unger. Great Thriller & it will be the perfect summer read.

And the children's book Tea Rex by Molly Idle, Spy Mice YR series by Heather Vogel Frederick (it's a take on James Bond with titles like "For Your Paws Only") & Julianne Baggot's new book "Fuse"

Oh wait, you only wanted 3.................hahahhaha...............

What's been your favorite author event and why?
That's such a hard question because they have all been amazing and each author has left their own mark on "An Evening With The Author".  I do have to mention that this series of events would not even exist if it wasn't for the amazing Lisa Unger who knocked on the store's door early one morning while I was vacuuming.  She was visiting family in the area and wanted to say Hi to the local independent book store!!!  And from there an a event was born.  The historic building that we hold the event in was at one point the town's library and Elissa Schappell use to check books out from it.  After Marisa de los Santos, a favorite of area book groups, she suggested that I contact Julianna Baggott. Julianna's evening was special for me because my niece read "Pure" & loved it so I now have a picture of my 13 yr. niece meeting her first Author in person!  Oh, and Julianna's kindergarten teacher came to her event! Rachel Simon fit us in between all of her events and I was able to hook her up with friends who work for the Special Olympics & Sandra Beasley read some of her poetry for us when she was our featured author for her memoir "Don't Kill The Birthday Girl". They've all been fabulous!

How do you see the future of bookstores?
It is definitely an interesting time to own an independent bookstore but I'm pretty optimistic.  For a time stores were all reducing their size and adjusting to the new reality of e-reading but I've found that most stores have found a happy medium that meets all their readers needs.  We could use more space!!!   Book stores have always been hubs for community interaction & I do not see that changing.  One of the really exciting things that has been happening in the last few years is the increase of events of all types that ultimately bring authors & readers together.  Events are becoming cornerstones of our business and the communities in which we live and work really do appreciate that.

Enjoy reading,
Hockessin Bookshelf

No comments: