On Bookstores and Loss

Found on Pinterest. https://www.pinterest.com/imacdragonfly/book-arts-signs-sightings/
Found on Pinterest. https://www.pinterest.com/imacdragonfly/book-arts-signs-sightings/

This week, I received some very sad news. One of the best local bookshops in KC is closing its doors. Technology has been rough on the books industry from both the publishing and bookseller perspective and yet there are still thousands upon thousands of books published every year. Kansas City never really had a lot of small bookstores to begin with, at least not that I’ve ever known. But each time I hear about such an occurrence, be it here or in another city, it always gets me.

Everyone wants to be a published author. Writing takes a ton of work. I doubt that few people would still have author-ly aspirations if no one still read. Yes, e-books are popular. But people still buy lots of books. They wouldn’t print them if people weren’t buying them. And yet the bookstores keep closing. In our Walmart world run by corporate monstrosities, big ag and unlawful politicians, it’s difficult to remember where we came from and what the world really should be. This is all a matter of opinion of course, and I’m all for convenience. But more and more I find myself seeking out small venders…farmers’ markets, Etsy shops and small bookstores. Some of the best gifts I’ve ever given have come from Etsy.

Mysteryscape, is a cute little bookstore located in Old Overland Park and is a place that my dear friend and writing partner and I frequent when we go out and she gets a little adult time away from her sweet little girls. I attended a book club there where my friend was the guest author. I’ve found autographed books there and it’s perhaps the most unique setup ever. Obviously, this store sells mystery books. The store is organized by location or concept. If you want a mystery that is centered around food, they have that. Did you know that books with play on word food titles is a thing? I love looking through that shelf whenever I’m there. And they have so much more than just mysteries. I find local authors, classic reads and contemporary lit whenever I peruse their shelves. There’s a little something for everyone.  Unfortunately, Mysteryscape is closing its doors on July 25th. So very sad.

Another dream I had was to see my forthcoming novella, The Green Lady, perched on the local author shelf at Mysteryscape. The owners of this bookstore take particular pride in local authors and will feature any genre. Seeing this dream go up in smoke is very sad for I had looked forward to having my own local author event there and hopefully answering questions and signing autographs.

Such dreams are nice, but the true sadness lies in the loss of such an important place in our city. The owners of Mysteryscape are passionate about books and community and it’s so sad to see them go. They ran book clubs and held author events for local writers. They truly care about the art and craft of writing and they value the work and the end product equally. We need people and businesses like Mysteryscape to keep the publishing industry human. It was obvious every time I went into that store how passionate they were about their business and about writing. I hope that whatever their next venture is, they will find success and joy.

Photo Credit: Mysteryscape LLC
RIP Mysteryscape 😦  Photo Credit: Mysteryscape LLC

Bookstores are my solace. I go there not only to find new adventures, but to recharge and to rediscover myself. Big or small, a bookstore has always been my haven. But the small quirky bookstores were always the ones that held a special place in my heart.

When I visit new cities, I like to visit local bookshops, particularly if they are recommended by a local. Some of the best directions I have received came from booksellers. When my boyfriend and I were wandering around Old San Juan in Puerto Rico this past March, I asked the bookseller where we should eat for lunch. Thanks to him, we had an amazing experience at this tiny place we never would have found on our own.

Shopping on Amazon is convenient, but it is not the same. I like to hold a book in my hands. I like to read the cover and admire the cover art. I like to read the jacket copy and thumb through the first few pages. Plus, it’s the small booksellers who can give you suggestions and educated recommendations.They actually want to talk to you about books, writing, whatever.

I am so sad to see Mysteryscape go.