Where Do You Go For Your Book Fix?

Walls of Books

Walls of Books Bookstore Dog

Bookstores are my happy place. I have noticed though that each bookstore has a different feel. Some are warm and friendly, some are more modern with sleek lines and more minimalistic, some are geared toward adults, some more toward children. I have been to a mystery only bookstore and I have been to the Haunted Book Store. I am not sure if those last two are still around but I will do some research and let everyone know. I will try to visit them again.

The first time that I visited Walls of Books, I was looking for Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldie the Caterer series. I found them. I bought all of them. From then on, I was known as the lady who bought all those books. Which reminds me, I need to finish this series.

I discovered this bookstore a couple of years ago. It’s located in Ankeny, IA in a strip mall and it’s part of a franchise so I am sure you can find more in other locations.

It is an interesting place, not just because they have a bookstore dog. (To be honest, I was a little intimidated to see this dog running around the store. I like dogs but I can feel uncomfortable around strange dogs.) This one is gentle and most of the time it lies down near the owner and allows people to pet and talk to him. Lately, I haven’t always seen Isa in the store. Maybe he gets a day off occasionally.

This store is set up with bookshelves all the way around the room with stacks of shelves running in between. In the middle of the room is a leather sofa and chairs for anyone who wants to take a minute to look through a few books before they purchase them. It also has a second room connected with more books.

The main room has children’s books lining the back wall. As you walk into the store, the books start on the furthest wall to the left and weave back and forth through out the room. All the fiction books are in alphabetical order. All the fiction genres are mixed, so if you know the author’s name, you can find what you are looking for easily but there is no separate mystery, romance, horror, or sci-fi, fantasy section. I like to slowly walk through the stacks and find something that calls to me. When you reach the end of the fiction books, there are young adult and classics on last two rows on the furthest right.

In the second room, you will find a couple more chairs and new books, autobiography, biography, historical, non-fiction, and any other genre that doesn’t fit in fiction. I like the fact that this smaller bookstore thinks of the comfort of the customer compared to a local big name box store that pretty much removed any comfortable seating.

In the center of the store in front of the check out counter is a small row of tables with featured books and book related items for sale.

The staff are all pleasant and a mixture of younger and older employees. The fiction section is both used and new books. If you are looking for something special, you can ask someone to order it for you.

You can sell books as well as buy books there. They don’t pay cash, but they do give credit and you can use that credit toward half the purchase of a used book. You keep track of your credit, and you can spend it at any time.

The store has a pleasant atmosphere. There was a man proposing to his future wife there one day. Maybe they met there. Guess I will never know but I did watch with a few other customers and clerks.

Tell me about your favorite bookstore. Where is it located? Why is it your favorite? I hope to add more stores as I visit them. The Des Moines area has several bookstores now so watch for more tours soon.

Coming soon: A book review for Silence for the Dead by Simone St James.

Also, if you are in the area, the Des Moines Public Library has another AVID event tonight at the central library. The author is Jack Carr and it’s at 7:00 PM. I try to get there by 6:00 to make sure I get a copy of the book and a seat. They do sometimes have standing room only. Will post more about this event later.

Happy Reading,


Independent Bookstore Day!

Here are just a sampling of local independent bookstores in the Des Moines area and there are more.

The top left photo is of Plain Talk Books & Coffee in Downtown Des Moines a shop I need to visit.

Top middle is Walls of Books, a shop I am very familiar with in Ankeny.

Photo bottom left is Beaverdale Books, a shop I have visited often not just for books but they do have monthly author events and book clubs.

Top right is Storybook Pub House – another shop I need to check out.

And the last is Pageturners in Indianola, a shop I have frequented often. I love that they have a mixture of new and old books and their children’s section would be a fun place to take a grandchild. There is a wide variety of books to choose from.

I know there are a few more new shops in the area that I am not familiar with and need to explore. I will in the near future. Of course there are the large chains like Barnes and Noble and Half Price Books but I wanted to focus on Indies with this post.

In future posts I plan to do a more intimate introduction of each of these shops as well as more in surrounding areas. I am thinking possible day trips this summer to small towns so let me know of any in your area.

If you are interested in book shops from all over the United States, I would highly recommend this book.

This was a book I took my time reading. Every day I would pick it up and read about a different book store. It was interesting reading about the book stores that authors recommend.

In the future, I hope to use this book as a reference. While reviewing books, I will see if the author has mentioned their favorite in this book. I am also curious to see how many of these bookstores were affected by Covid and if they are still around.

But that is too sad to dwell on. Today is the day to support your local indies. I know that Beaverdale Books has some fun stuff planned for today. A good reason to maybe do a bookshop hop.

Let me know who your favorite bookstore is and why. Do you have a favorite?

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