First Stop, Boulder!
We kicked off the Indie Bookstore Roadtrip right
with a visit to the revered Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, Colorado. This mecca of goodness has been on Pearl Street since 1973. The store began with only 10 bookcases and 5 employees. Now, the store employs about 50 people and occupies 20,000 sq. feet, with more than 100,000 titles and three floors Boulder Bookstore is the second-largest independent bookstore in Colorado. AND They host their readings in an old ballroom!
Another very cool thing that I saw at Boulder Bookstore is their “Teen Advisory Board.” This is a group of teen-agers who read advances for the bookstore and write book reviews, which are then posted on the shelves. This is such a great idea – it makes me wonder why all bookstores don’t do this. If I were a teenager trying to pick a book, I’d want to know what other teenagers thought about that book. Great idea, Boulder Bookstore!
My hostess at the bookstore was Liesl Freudenstein, the head childrens’ book buyer. Liesl set me up signing books, gave me a tour of the amazing space (three stories, including an old ballroom!) and chatted with me for a while about how the folks at Boulder Bookstore are making it happen.
“We suffered a bit from the floods last fall,” Leisl told me. “People were pretty traumatized and were also hit hard economically, so that hurt book sales.” She added that they are pretty much back to normal as of April.
Boulder Books, like so many independent bookstores, relies heavily on its loyal local following. They have a reputation, Liesl explained to me, and people rely on them for book recommendations. The front of Boulder Bookstore, in fact, is all “Recommended Books,” and Liesl told me that many people never go any further than that section. That makes sense – while the vast selection at Boulder Bookstore is a treasure trove waiting to be explored, if you were in a hurry, or buying a book as a gift, you might really be grateful for some curatorial advice!
I left Boulder Bookstore with a big bag of purchases – reading for the rest of this trip! A couple of books were ones I’d been meaning to read, but the rest were recommendations, including Emma Trevayne’s “Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times” (Staff Pick), Kelly Barnhill’s “Iron Hearted Violet” (Liesl’s current favorite book), and a book that I’ve been meaning to read but forgot about until I was prompted by a “Teen pick”: Leigh Bardugo’s “Siege and Storm.” Any bookworm loves a recommendation, especially from other bookworms. And that’s what makes the independent bookstore rock. Thanks Boulder Bookstore, for a great visit!
After our bookstore visit, we had just enough time for a quick tea-party with the cutest four-year old in Boulder,
and then headed into the mountains to Telluride for a visit to Full Circle Books. But first, some music at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival! See you soon –