“Thank you very much, Pepsi-Cola, for reminding me that I own my shelf space and I can do anything I want. So I immediately went out and found 25 little brands of soda that were still in glass bottles…”
—John Nese, Galcos Soda Pop Stop
John Nese, proprietor of Galcos Soda Pop Stop in Los Angeles, shows independent bookstores one way they can deal with major publishers and compete with Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc. — depth over breadth.
I came across a great example of this approach while on vacation a couple of weeks ago, at Adventures Unlimited Books in Cottonwood, AZ, located on North Main Street in the historic part of town. Covering two decent-sized storefronts (maybe 800 sq. feet total?) with a small entrance connecting them that doubles as a seating/reading area, the left side features a modest selection of the kinds of new, recent and notable books across the typical categories that are found in most small, independent bookstores.
The right side, though, is an alternative history, conspiracy theory, sci-fi/fantasy aficionado’s dream, featuring an impressive selection of Adventures Unlimited Press books as well as books from other publishers covering similar topics and territory. It’s about as niche as you can get, sort of a bricks-and-mortar take on Tor.com‘s store, or the book equivalent of Nese’s impressive selection of 500+ sodas not produced by Pepsi or Coca-Cola.
Not everyone’s cup of tea, and not trying to be, it was the highlight by far of the several bookstores we checked out on our trip through New Mexico and Arizona, the kind that can only be run by someone who is not just passionate about what they do, but smart about how they’re doing it, serving a niche that goes way beyond the “buy indie” entitlement slogan.
What are some of your favorite bookstores, indie or not, and why?
(Hat tip to Maria Jackson for the video, via Facebook.)