Inspiring Older Readers
Park Road Books, Charlotte
This is a bookshop it would be easy to miss but what a tragedy if you did. Like lots of stores in North Carolina, the architecture leaves a lot to be desired. To call the shopping centre in which Park Road Books is located functional is being unnecessarily kind. The shops have no outward personality at all - I think an estate agent might say, euphemistically, that the shop lacks curb appeal. But don't be fooled by this - inside its a real gem.
An independent bookshop with all the best attributes - plenty of stock, a good wide range, well equipped and very clearly laid out. It's the second time I've paid it a visit and, if anything, I felt more warmly towards it this time than I did first time around. The atmosphere of the shop is very pleasing and there was a good buzz about the place despite it being a mid-week, mid-afternoon when we stopped by.
The staff are knowledgeable and helpful too which is always a positive as far as I'm concerned. Every customer was given time and the staff were happy to chat but didn't force it on you. On the day we were there they had also put out an interesting rack of second hand books which turned out to be the owners own overspill which he was shifting because of a house move. They were priced right and there were real bargains to be had - signed copies of first edition Carl Hiaasens were a particular treat.
Like a lot of independent bookshops they seem to have a good relationship with local authors and they seem to host quite a number of signing sessions. They also had a pretty good range of other new release signed copies and they gave quite a bit of space over to hardbacks and that, in my view, is the sign of a civilised book store.