Road to Adventure; Connecticut’s Indie Bookshop Trail

Karen Elizabeth Baril 

Connecticut is one of those rare places on earth that is home to dozens of independent book shops. Not just one or two, but a marvelous collection of unique book-browsing adventures.  Now that the pandemic is loosening its grip, it’s time to get out and explore the aisles of the indies. This column is first in a series to bring you to Connecticut’s bookshops, one indie at a time.   

As local authors, indies are allies in this wonderful adventure of reading and writing and publishing. It makes good sense to support your favorite bookshop, not only through purchasing books, but by encouraging others to check them out as well. Indie bookshop owners love to display new authors.   

Indie bookshops are good for the local economy with close to 73% of every dollar finding its way back into the community. Owners and staff care about books and they care about diversity, sharing a commitment to local and independent authors, showcasing books the big box stores won’t carry. 

The pandemic year was tough on independent book shops in the United States. For every week of the pandemic, one independent bookstore closed its doors forever. Why? We know why…we’ve all done it, “click!” and it’s in our shopping cart, a two day delivery. Easy, peasy. 

But, easy isn’t always satisfying. Indie bookshop owners know that book shopping is an adventure. You’re looking for the latest crime thriller and come home with a book on the cosmos.  

Adventure. Experience. You don’t get that online. Indie bookshops are good therapy.  And we need good therapy right now.

In this series, we’ll share the backstory of independently owned, brick and mortar shops; their unique flavor, down and dirty staff profiles, and fun things to do in the area, like hitting local gift shops or combining your visit with a wine tasting. 

So go ahead, venture out on a rainy spring afternoon to explore the narrow aisles of your favorite bookshop. And drop us a line. Maybe your favorite bookshop will be the next indie profile!

Karen Elizabeth Baril writes from her farm in the northwest hills of Connecticut. She is the author of dozens of articles and personal essays that have appeared in magazines throughout the U.S. and Canada. Follow her at  Karen Elizabeth Baril.

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