Tag Archives: bookstores

Book Store Memories

This post was prompted by this find.

That’s Island Newsstand which had a very international and varied stock of contemporary books, newspapers, and magazines. Before this I remember PC’s Book Revue (the other one I went to semi-regularly when I finally had money to spend on books as a working teen/young adult) had piles of fun reading material and the Map Shop which was good for Caribbean books and texts. I cop to having spent more time in Island Newsstand and PC’s than the Map Shop as a teen and young adult (but the latter was an institution – and is a past Wadadli Pen patron – its absence from the marketplace is sad). Before that I remember the book section of Benjie’s Department store the site of my first holiday job – long hours on my feet and dusting/arranging.

I think I stopped going to Island Newsstand as much when First Editions opened as it was closer to my job and had every type of book I could think of (even more than Island Newsstand).

Best of Books station at the Alliougana Book Fair in Montserrat.

Current Antigua-based bookstores (not sure about the Barbuda situation) are the long standing religious bookstores like Christian Literature and the Methodist Book Shop (and likely others in that vein), and Cindy’s Bookstore which seems to be primarily books and other items for children, and the Best of Books which is a favourite of mine and as much of a community centre as any community centre could aspire to be as a safe space for youth. There’s its regular open mic and its shelf of Antiguan and Barbudan books, book signings (all of my book launches for one), taking our books on the road (like to book festivals in Montserrat and St. Martin), co-producing big lit events like the 2008 Dancing Moonlight Street Festival and the 2017 Book Fair, and other special events/activities – including being the host since 2011/2012 of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge Awards.

The 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge Awards ceremony at the Best of Books bookstore.

Bookstores are special; they can make you feel calm, naughty, happy, the full spectrum of feelings and that’s before you even crack a book. But maybe that’s just me. Books are my happy place, so shelves and shelves of books can feel like nirvana. I love bookstores. I sometimes think I could live in one, or maybe just get locked in one overnight like the two women in that Whoopi Goldberg-Will Smith-Nia Long-Ted Dansen film ‘Made in America’.

So what’s the moral of the story, apart from an excuse to share an old Island Newsstand pic… well, support your local brick and mortar bookstores, obviously, they do more than sell books (even though that would be enough); remember to spread the word re the current season of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge; and be sure to share your bookstore memories in the comments (you don’t have to be local to where I am to do that; bookstores, blessedly, are international).

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.


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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News

Finding Readers, Finding Books

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(a book lover’s social media share)

An interesting social media post recently asked book lovers how they found new books, new authors – a question always of interest to authors like me always trying to land our promotion and marketing efforts where it can have the most impact.

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(Another book lover’s social media share)

Here are some of the other responses:

-friends’ recommendations (on social media… and, I would add, other places since more often than not these last few years of trying not to acquire new books until I can lighten my books-unread shelf, ‘new’ books have been thrust upon me by well meaning friends; and I can’t complain. As for how this affects my own promotional efforts, reader reviews are encouraged and used like those movie tag lines. They have proven especially useful being from a small place with my books receiving scant critical attention comparatively speaking, and, though that’s gotten better, I still welcome readers helping me create buzz by recc’ing a book of mine to readers in their network)

bookempt.gyal4(Yet another book lover’s social media share. credit: bookempt.gyal on instagram)

-reading  the book cover blurb and the first pages (online retail sites have made this easier, useful to me both as a reader and as a researcher building and sharing knowledge here on the site and in other places, but I remember I used to – and still – do this when shopping for or considering physical books. I even know people who, while browsing,  read the end and the middle to get a feel for the book – something the online retail sites have also made easier. I don’t get that part because, hello, spoilers. But I do try to accommodate readers’ need to know how it starts by publishing first pages on my Jhohadli blog)

-book related groups + review requests (this is the interaction part of social media, participating not just plugging, recommending other writers, not just pushing your own product; it’s time consuming but part of building community)

-freebies (as a writer and reviewer, with a blogger on books series, I get a number of requests to read books; and promotional giveaways have only gotten more plentiful in this age of internets.  It’s a bit more challenging to take on these reading assignments for the blog due to that time not being covered, plus it can be stressful, especially as I’ve been on the other side of this freebies for reviews relationship and know how it can feel when the person who copped the freebie doesn’t say word one about your book)

-recommendations on (person mentioned a specific literary platform but really all of them – not to mention #bookstagram #booktube the book blogging community and its many memes, and the myriad goodreads lists not to mention groups on facebook and specialized lists on twitter etc; it’s a lot to keep up with but I try to be in those spaces and try to connect my books with people in those spaces…of course, you have to give to get and that means making recommendations of your own)

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(Yet yet another book lover’s social media share. credit: baby making machine blog)

-Always ask my daughter (lol) – I like this one but this speaks to your real life reading partners and book clubs and the like, the book store employee who recs books he thinks you’ll like based on your reading history …those personal connections… book clubs and bookstores are among my mailing lists but beyond the lists are the relationships. Remember when you were in school and no two of you had a single penny to knock together but someone might have a book and that booked got passed around like mix tapes? How about that relationship with that friend you really see except for when it’s time for another book exchange every time a favourite author drops a new book? book conversations? book groups where there’s as much wine and idle chatter as book deep dives? you know what I mean) … it’s a beautiful thing.

oh gad in walmart posted by hadassa 2012
(book lover’s social media share)

How about you, where do you find your books?… authors, where do you find your readers?

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

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