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Independent Bookstores a Travelers Best Friend
by Sherrie Wilkolaski, Indie Bookstore Traveler
If you’re planning your next vacation or weekend getaway, do yourself a favor and include a stop at the local independent bookstore in that destination. The typical traveler will do research on accommodations, restaurants and entertainment, but why not the local independent bookstore, they are a gem. That one extra stop can transform your travel experience.
Why are independent bookstores so valuable for a tourist?
As an author and publisher I’m always interested in the history of the local independent bookstores and the insight the staff can provide on the local community. Think about it, a local author typically likes to write about their hometown, the people, places and things that only a native insight can bring. That is one interesting aspect of what a hometown bookstore can offer. There is so much more. For me it is more than just what a local author can put on the pages.
5 Benefits of Incorporating Independent Bookstores into Your Travel Plans:
1. Get introduced to new authors. Do you like a good thriller? Enjoy romance novels?
Or are you looking for the latest self-
2. Insider knowledge you can’t get anywhere else. The bookstore staff should be well versed in which books best define their local community; no matter what the subject. 9 times out of 10 if you’re working in a bookstore, you do it because you’re passionate about books, so travelers you’re bound to get incredible recommendations on more than just what’s sitting on the bookstore shelves. If you like mystery novels, for example, not only might you find a new book to enjoy on your trip, you may learn out about the haunted mansion that the author included as the milieu for the book. What a wonderful opportunity to create a unique excursion.
3. Supporting the local community. Independent bookstores are struggling in this retail market and it’s great to go local. You’ll find that many bookstores offer more than just book signings, they’re a hub for the local community to come together. Perhaps they have a coffee shop, provide free live music, or other entertainment. If you have children, many bookstores offer story-
4. Books make great souvenirs! Do you really need another kitchen magnet or t-
5. A taste of home. There is something comforting about going into a bookstore, no matter what city you’re in. It always feels like home. You’re sure to be surrounded by some of your favorite classics and there is the excitement of something new just waiting for you on the shelves. Even the greatest adventurer likes the comfort of nostalgia while they’re creating new memories.
If you’re looking for more than just a standard tourist vacation, put the local indie bookstore as the first stop on your list and you’re bound to take your escape beyond the usual and make it something you won’t soon forget. To find a local independent bookstore for your next excursion, go to or contact the local tourism association, they can direct you to the best indie bookstore to suit your travel plans and let you know if there are any events that may be of interest to you while in town.
This local bookstore exploration can be done in your own hometown. If you’re looking
for something to do on a free weekend, why not drop by your own local indie bookstore
and see what you can discover in your own backyard.
Sherrie Wilkolaski is a public relations and marketing expert for independent authors and traditional publishers. She specializes in travel writing with a focus on local indie bookstores. She is always in search of the best local chocolate chip cookie. She studied broadcast journalism at SUNY College at Buffalo, and is the author of the Cookies and Cocktails cookbook series. Learn more at or