'Sudden Rise of Independent Bookshops' in Winston-Salem, N.C.

In Winston-Salem, N.C., "something peculiar is happening," Winston-Salem Monthly observed in a feature on the expansion of the area's indie bookselling scene, "with several new independent bookstores opening recently. The new establishments reflect the diversity of the sector—one shop, Bookmarks, which just opened on Fourth Street, sells only new books as a nonprofit. Another shop, Bright Leaf Books, which opened in the spring, sells mostly affordably priced used books. Another, Allington Antiquarian Books on Burke Street, specializes in rare books. Meanwhile, other more longstanding used bookstores, like the Eclectible Shop on Northwest Boulevard, have continued to thrive....

"In an age when consumers crave an experience that feels unique and connected to the local community (perhaps as a reaction to the uniformity of big box stores and the impersonal nature of online retailers), independent bookstores offer a breath of fresh air. Visitors come in for the tactile experience of it all, and to talk to a shop person who has recommendations, taste and a sense of humor."

"Our focus as a nonprofit is to connect readers with authors and books," said Ginger Hendricks, executive director of Bookmarks. "So from the beginning, we saw this as a gathering place where people who love books could get together and talk about them."

Bright Leaf's owner Samuel Puliafito said he is optimistic about more bookstores opening in the city because engaged consumers are attracted to the variety of offerings. "That’s why jewelry districts pop up, fabric districts. That extends to the book industry as well. The more bookstores there are, the better."

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