Saturday, May 2, 2020

Celebrating Indie Bookstores by Peggy Jaeger

It's no secret that writers are readers first. I know I was - and still am.

As a child, before I had disposable income of my own,  I got all my books from the local library. It was wonderful to be able to stop by any day and take out a number of books to read. The one drawback? I  had to return them. I really wanted to keep them, too, but couldn't.

Flash forward to the time when I began making my own money and could spend it on things I wanted. Did I purchase fabulous clothes? Travel to exotic locations? Drive a luxury car?

Nope. I bought books. Hardbacks, paperbacks, new and used. Books were my binge purchase, my addiction.

Still are.

When I lived in a big city I purchased all my books from Borders, or Barnes and Noble.

Then I moved to a small town. No more Borders. No more B&N. Just one, small bookstore that I feared would never carry the kinds of books I liked to read and own.

Silly me.

I happen to be lucky enough to live in a town that has its own independent, locally run, owned, and operated, bookstore, THE TOADSTOOL BOOKSHOP. Cute name, no? Heehee

This little bookstore - and I only say that because it's not the 40,000 square feet of a Borders or B&N - carries every imaginable book and many more I could never have foreseen or thought about. If I come to them after hearing about the newest-you-have-to-read-this-today book, and they don't have it in stock, they order it and have it for me lickity split. I tried having Borders order me a book, once. Once is the definitive word in that last sentence. Suffice it to say, I never asked again.

Independent bookstores are, at their heart, community based. Many times they are a gathering place for the locals in the area. They support writing groups of all genres, even offer their space to monthly writing groups. They promote local authors and are always looking for ways to garner more sales for their local writers. Indie Bookstores can truly be seen as one of the first purveyors of SHOP LOCAL.  They are able to provide jobs for their community and thereby give back to the community - and they do give back in so many ways, something big box bookstores and Amazon do not. Story times for children, teen nights to get young adults interested and engaged in reading, summer reading programs for children and adults of all ages. All these programs are organized and provided by indie bookstores. When was the last time you saw Amazon read a story to a bunch of kids? Yeah...I didn't think so.

For me, personally, THE TOADSTOOL has been instrumental in getting my name out into the world of romance readers in my area by organizing book signings when I have a new release, or promoting and sponsoring Meet the Authors nights for genre groupings such as romance, mystery, Sci-Fi. The support - professionally, individually and even for me, emotionally, of my Independent bookstore is profound. My store even has a shelf devoted just

Now I could tell you all the ways indie bookstores have suffered since Amazon showed up. Initially, some closed, then more, and more until finally there was a worry we would never have anything but Borders-type stores. When that chain went the way of the dinosaur - again because of Amazon - it was a turning point for indies. People began to see their indie bookstores as the Davey to Amazon's Goliath and gathered around the underdog. Today, despite Amazon's hold, Indie bookstores are thriving.

They may be taking a bit of a beating during the pandemic, but I am certain that once we are no longer quarantined as a society, Indie bookstores will one of the first gathering places we see filled with people.

If you are lucky enough to have an indie bookstore in your town, please - if you don't already support it - do so now. The benefits of shopping local and supporting a business that provides so much for your community, is profound.

Celebrate Independent Bookstores. It's a good thing.
*** I'm editing this to take an idea from Judith and run with it: PLEASE everyone who reads this, put up a link to your favorite Indie bookstore, whether it be in your town, or just one you shop at close by!! Let's flood the blogging world with out favorite book shops!

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer!

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, she brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"

Social Media links:

Amazon Author Page:

Releasing 5.20.2020 VANILLA WITH A TWIST a One Scoop or Two summer romance from The Wild Rose Press
Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenage son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop's machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn't had a day off in a decade and wonders if she'll ever be able to live a worry-free life.

Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher's Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy's shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment.

Can the budding friendship that follows lead to something everlasting?


Karen Hulene Bartell said...

You are blessed to have The Toadstool! Continued success with Vanilla with a Twist!

peggy jaeger said...

Karen - no lie!!! i love my bookstore sosososo much! Thanks for stopping by and helping us celebrate!

D. V. STONE said...

We have to bookstores nearby Broad Street Books and Sparta Books. Great post. D. V.🦉


We don't have any near me, and the ones that we do don't believe romance is a genre. Sigh. You're really lucky.

peggy jaeger said...

DV Make sure they sell your book! You can do it thru commission if nothing else!

peggy jaeger said...

Jennifer, what is up with that??I hear from so many people that some book stores won't carry romance. It's so bizzarre to me when the biggest selling book industry is...romance!!?? And believe me, I do consider myself uber-lucky!!!

Judith Ashley said...

Peggy, I'm giving a gigantic SHOUT OUT to Jan's Paperbacks, Beaverton, OR Even though I live across miles away and drive past several indie bookstores along the way (including Powell's), Jan's is my "go to" indie bookstore. Why? Jan's in it's previous location (Aloha, OR) and it's new location (Beaverton, OR) totally supports local authors and especially the romance genre.

During this pandemic Lori, Jan's owner, has gathered books I'm looking for including ordering, then boxes them and sends them to me. Due to health issues this past year, I'd already reread 90% of my keeper books and the ones I didn't will, most likely, become "non-keepers."

Lori has book clubs, author events and participants in Indie Book Day in August. What I also appreciate about Lori is her support of other small businesses in her area. Walking in you see goodies from a nearby bakery, coffee or candy from other shops.

I hope everyone will put links to their favorite indie bookstore so the rest of us can check them out. Never know when we might be traveling and want to visit.

peggy jaeger said...

Judith - that is amazing!!!! brava. What a great idea - yes, please put links to your fav indie bookstores!!11

peggy jaeger said...

JUdith you inspired me - I put in an addendum for everyone to post the link to their fav indie bookstore!! thanks for the idea.

Diana McCollum said...

The two Indie stores in our town do not have any type of romance on the shelves. No Sci-fi, paranormal, contemporary romance, etc. If you are self published your book is not on their shelves and they don't promote self-subbed. So I don't go into those stores or buy from them.

My favorite go to store is Barnes & Noble. They promote local authors, they have signings for them, doesn't matter if you are self-pubbed, They do have a story time for children, I think dailey in the summer. They sponsor YA programs, meet the author type.

During the pandemic I've ordered books online from Barnes & Noble, and pick them up the same day, curb side. I hope they never go out of business here.

And last fall the B & Noble started a weekly book club.

In our town it is a common meeting place for writers and other groups.

I love the name Toadstool Books! very clever!

Great post!

Barbara Bettis said...

I love the sound of The Toadstool! Wish I lived close enough to take advantage of it. My first bookstore was the library too :) My pet peeve--there was a limit on the number of books I could check out at a time. We lived 12 miles away in the country and came into that town only once a week, on Saturday. Thanks for sharing!

Judith Ashley said...

My first "book store" was also the library. I have very fond memories of the Summer Reading Program where you got a card (clowns for example) and for every book you read you got a sticky dot to decorate the clown's suit.

Judith Ashley said...

Diana, I've heard you rave about the Barnes & Noble in Bend, OR and how welcoming it is to writers, even indie authors. I've been in 2 - 3 of the area B&N's but I haven't found them to be as welcoming as you describe the one near you. Considering non -pandemic traffic in Portland to travel across the city to get to Jan's - it's because of relationships. When Debbie owned it, I'd see her when I shopped. Now Lori is the owner...but same thing. In the greater Portland area, the B&N's are big enough to have shifts and different schedules so it is much more difficult to form a connection to employees.

Having said that, the ones I have met have certainly been professional so no real complaints. I just like the closeness of the Indie's but they'd not see much of me if they don't do indie authors or romance!

Maggie Lynch said...

So, so true that indie bookstores tend to be community based. I know in the greater Portland, Oregon area there are many indie bookstores and each one has their own readership. Judith already mentioned Jan's Paperbacks. They were always a great supporter of indies and continue to be under new ownership.

Another good supporter of indies is Another Read Through. The closed their store on Mississippi Avenue in February--between traffic and no parking they just couldn't maintain the rent. However, they are still getting together book groups and selling out of the owners house. They don't do typical romance, but they do SF/Fantasy, Mystery/Thrillers/ and Lesbian lit. You can keep up with them at The store owner, Elisa, told me a couple years back that their customers just aren't interested in romance. When I had books with her, she always took my romances anyway and tried to sell them as women's lit. But it was my SF and Fantasy that would sell their. Each store has their own niche for sure.

Here in my new adopted town of Corvallis the local indie bookstore is called Grassroots Books. They've been in downtown Corvallis for 47 years!!! They give discounts to book clubs, have several reading groups, donate to schools, and all kinds of things. And they are very author friendly. Of course, right now you can't come in and browse. But you can browse the website and then get curbside pickup or have them ship to you.

Thanks Peggy for bringing up the great work of indie bookstores for authors and fo the communities they serve.

Diana McCollum said...


I would certainly go into and buy from indie stores here, but as I said, they don't carry what I read. They are very small stores. When the owner/bookseller of the small stores turn up their nose I what I want to read, why would I support them? I don't .

The Toadstool bookstore looks quite big compared to ours here in town.

Judith Ashley said...

Diana, I agree with you. If there weren't indie stores in the Portland area that did support indie authors, I'd probably figure something else continue to shop at Powells. The way you describe Bend's B&N is more like a community indie store even though it is part of a big chain. is in Portland, OR but also has a store in Chicago as well as smaller stores in Beaverton and the Portland International Airport. Have a book you want to read, Jan's, Powells, Barnes & Noble, The Toadstool, etc. will order and either have book directly shipped to you or will ship. And if you prefer audio and e-books, check out your favorite online vendor.

peggy jaeger said...

Barbara _ i think may of us who love to write got our start at the library!!!! It was such a warm and welcoming place.

peggy jaeger said...

Diana - i am glad you've had such a great experience with Barnes and Nobel. The closest one to me is over 60 miles away so I don't have a relationship with them. Maybe if I was closer geograghically I would.

peggy jaeger said...

Maggie it's go great to see so many of us have had great experiences with Indies!!!

Sarah Raplee said...

The library was my first bookstore as well. I still remember the first book I owned! It was a Little Golden Book about Davy Crockett with color illustrations. I think my brother passed it down to me. (He also taught me to read the summer before I went to Kindergarden. He was only seven, sick in bed for a week and bored.)

Our local Indie Book store is The Book Nook in Canby, Oregon - An amazing place I was delighted to find only 14 miles away from our acreage!!!

Judith Ashley said...

Sarah, when the pandemic is a distant memory (well, maybe not distant), we could visit The Book Nook ( and perhaps make it a threesome if Diana is visiting at the time.

CB Clark said...

Interesting post, Peggy! There's nothing better than an independent book store. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Lori w/ Jan's said...

Thanks for the shout outs! I'll add in Arcade Books in Hillsboro, Canby Book Nook is a great one! Gresham has Books Around the Corner and Maggie Mae's. The coast has Bob's. Festus, Mo has Books Galore! Kalamazoo, MI has Kazoo Books! Lawrence, KS has The Raven. Those are my top fave stores at least.

Lori w/ Jan's said...

And Third Street Books in McMinnville! Who is responsible for starting Bookstore Romance Day!