So, true story: one of my favorite independent bookstores is a store I’ve never actually been to. Crazy, right? WORD Bookstores in Brooklyn (and Jersey City) is a great store, but it’s the people working there that really make this indie rise above the rest. This is how I fell in love with WORD:
One of my favorite authors is Sarah MacLean, and WORD is her local indie. She’s done signings and events there, and nearly every time she has a book published, she’ll personalize pre-ordered copies from the store. Awhile back, she helped start the WORDS of Love romance of the month club. With a six-month subscription, each month members get to pick from a selection of romances that MacLean has chosen, usually around a particular theme.
I was a member of WORDS of Love for about a year, and every month, I couldn’t wait to see which books would be available. Between WORD staff and MacLean, I was introduced to so many new-to-me authors and got to read so many fabulous books. In fact, WORDS of Love is to blame for my Jill Shalvis addiction. I read one Shalvis book as part of the monthly club, and have since bought pretty much every book Shalvis has published – new releases and backlist books.
But when my subscription ended just before I moved abroad, I didn’t renew, partly because I wasn’t sure about how the whole international shipping thing would work out and partly because I needed to save money. I missed it, though, especially since I knew MacLean had a new book publishing this fall. I had been waiting for Chase’s story since the very beginning and there was no way I was going to wait until late December (when I was back in the US) to get my own copy. Enter WORD.
On a whim, I sent a tweet asking if they shipped internationally. To my surprise, they replied positively! A few emails with incredibly helpful and lovely staff members later, I had an international pre-order: not only would I get my copy of Never Judge A Lady, but it would be signed. And while it may have taken a few extra days to reach me across the Atlantic, I was thrilled WORD was able to help me out.
Could I have ordered the book from Amazon? Sure. I don’t know that it would have been cheaper, given shipping costs from either the US or the UK (Ireland doesn’t have its own Amazon portal). But the book wouldn’t have been signed, I wouldn’t have gotten a special Rules of Scoundrels reporter’s notebook, and I would have been supporting an independent bookstore that goes above and beyond to help readers connect with their favorite authors.
I used to work at a bookstore (a chain, but don’t hold that against me) and I know that, generally, anyone can sell you a book you already know you want to buy. But indies like WORD are making the bookstore and the book buying process an experience, one that goes far beyond an exchange of cash for goods. WORD is doing it right, on just about every level (their Tumblr is regularly filled with awesome things including this post that I loved because puns) and despite not ever living in Brooklyn (or Jersey City), I will continue to support them virtually for as long as I can. They have earned this loyal customer.
So… if you’re near Brooklyn (or, I guess, Jersey City) and you want to buy books for someone – or yourself (no judgment here) – you should really go to WORD. You don’t have to take my word on it (pun intended!), but you probably should.
[This post is entirely my own. WORD did not ask me to write it at all. I just love them that much.]
[Photo Credit: WORD website]