We’ve found several bookstores that go beyond the normal fare. They have impressed us. We’re using this page to share what unique things booksellers are doing to beat the big box stores and online shopping. If you see something special, tell us (Kim@bookstorepeople.com or Claire@bookstorepeople.com), we’ll pass it on. Click on the unique tag and you’ll see a list of posts about stores with unusual traits, all of which are noted here. If possible, we’ll tell you which store offers the described services, so you can contact them to learn what they’re doing in detail.
- For every 10 books purchased, customer receives one free – The Book Works
- For every 20 items purchased, customer receives a rebate coupon worth 5% of the purchased items – Bookshop Santa Cruz
- Page and Palette will take used books in trade for 50% store credit that must be used in 90 days (as if that would be hard).
- Specialized group using local expertise – The Book Works‘ Mind-Brain series taps into the local medical and science community for presenters and audience. The Tattered Cover sponsers the Rocy Mountain Land Series about environmental issues. The former Dutton’s held a book group on classical music. HearthFire Books ships a book a month to members of it’s Kid’s Club.
- Book Club Mixer – Bookshop Santa Cruz invites local book groups for quarterly gatherings with speakers; Warwick’s annually invites book groups to hear the staff’s recommendations
- Community Book Group – Bookshop Santa Cruz has an author and moderator once a month for an open book group
- Meeting with Book Group – The Tattered Cover and The Elliot Bay Book Company will meet with groups to make book recommendations.
Rotating community member recommends books – Bookshop Santa Cruz
Local expert recommends books from field of expertise – Bookshop Santa Cruz
Top seller for the store noted in each genre – Bookshop Santa Cruz
The Globe Bookstore names the Grand Prix d’Escargot, a designation for the best book that was out of print and recently re-printed
The Elliott Bay Book Company publishes the Booknotes quarterly and a Holiday Gazette, both online and in print.
Book of the Month Clubs
Bookshop Santa Cruz will send a book selected according to your preferences quarterly, bimonthly or monthly for adult or child readers, in either hardback or paperback.
The Tattered Cover has an autograph club, members receive a collectible first edition signed book monthly.
Maiden Voyage First Edition Program – The Elliot Bay Book Company sends out a hardback first edition of a debut author 6 times a year.
- Classes – The Book Works offers a variety of ongoing writing classes
- Battle of the Books – Hearthside supports the local school program by stocking the books
- Competitions – Bookshop Santa Cruz offers an annual short story competition. The Tattered Cover holds essay, poetry, bookmark and scary story contests for youth.
- Schools – Warwick’s notifies schools of a visiting children’s author and 20% of any pre-sales of the author’s book by the school to parents is given to the school in store credit. The Tattered Cover sponsers an annual Educator’s Night.
- The Elliott Bay Book Company offers corporate services for businesses.
- Looking for reading about where you’re traveling? Look no further than the Destination Kits offered by Idlewild Books.
- Strand Bookstore will rent or sell books by the foot – they will curate a real library for you or, for designer purposes, one just for show.
- Wessel and Lieberman offers free shipping for all domestic orders from their website
- The Book Barn offers free shipping for all orders in Central Oregon
- Warwick’s gives 1% of it’s monthly sales to a different charitable organization, alternating between a local and a global charity
- The Book Barn gives a undefined percentage of all sales proceeds to a local non-profit organization
- The Tattered Cover gives 1% of members sales to the member’s chosen local charity, it also sponsors book drives and donates one new book for every 10 donated books.
- With the Books for Change program, The Elliot Bay Book Company gives a percentage of the sales of a chosen group of books to a rotating charitable organization.
- Page and Palette Foundation sponsers several benefits that have resulted in raising $140,000 for local charities since 1998
- Mysteries: Mystery Books in Westwood Village stocks new, used, and rare mysteries from here and over seas.
- Page and Palette has a unique combination of stock specializing in both books and art supplies.
- For the kid in all of us (except those teenagers who stand on their dignity and refuse to acknowledge their inner children), Curious George in Harvard Square offers a whole jungle theme that makes you think you’ve walked into maybe not an actual jungle but at least a Rain Forest Cafe
- Small Press – The owner of The Poisoned Pen started a small press to support mystery writers and re-publish out of print mystery books
- Scandinavian books and resources – The Book Loft in Solvang
- Film Series – The Tattered Cover sponsors a monthly classical fim series and Out of the Book Film series of shorts about books and authors.
- The Elliott Bay Book Company sponsors a staged play reading program from May through October of each year.
- City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco has a wide range of unusual and progressive subjects, including such diverse topics as “muckraking” and “Green Politics.”
- Booksmith prints author cards for every reading at the store, the author’s picture is on the front of the card and the information about the reading is on the back.