Squeezed between Amazon and Walmart, mistreated by distributers, and taken for granted by the big multinational publishers, there remain some real independent bookstores where patrons can browse, ask a knowledgeable proprietor about recent releases, sit in a comfortable chair and read part of a book before making a decision to buy. Such a place is That Bookstore in Blytheville. An unlikely place, Blytheville, Arkansas. It’s a small town in the Mississippi delta 65 miles north of Memphis, but there is one of the best bookstores in America there.
Started by MaryGay Shipley in 1977 That Bookstore in Blytheville helped launch the career of such luminaries as John Grisham, and Ed Baldwin. John is from Jonesboro, AR, and I’m from Kennett, MO, just over the state line from Blytheville. I signed copies of my first book, Bookman at That Bookstore in Blytheville in 1990. Grisham has had a bit more success than I, but we both started there.
That Bookstore in Blytheville is owned by Chris Crawley now, and the tradition of service continues. I’ll be signing copies of my latest book, The Mingrelian there on Saturday, June 28th in the afternoon. Come on by.