James Patterson and 11 Other Authors Who Love Independent Bookstores

Move over, Avengers, there’s a new superhero in town. Over the last year, bestselling author James Patterson has been donating grants to independent bookstores in need across the country—based on a quick application process on his website that can be submitted by owners, authors, or simply frequent readers. He’s pledged to donate $1 million over the course of the next year; currently, he’s given away $267,000 to 54 bookstores.

“The future of books in America is at risk,” Patterson shared with Publishers Weekly. “The government will protect the automobile industry and the banking industry, but not books.” Patterson isn’t the only author speaking out about the importance of indies. Here are 11 authors talking about their favorite local bookstores.

1) Pamela Mingle, The Pursuit of Mary Bennet

Favorite Indie Bookstore:

“That’s an easy question. My favorite indie bookstore in Denver is the Tattered Cover. They have three stores in the metro area, and their inventory is incredible. Their customer service is matchless; the owner, Joyce Meskis, has been an extraordinary community leader. I’ve been going there for years, and I’m glad to have this opportunity to sing their praise. I had a signing for The Pursuit of Mary Bennet at one of their stores on Dec. 3. They could not have been more welcoming!” —Pamela Mingle

2) Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation

Favorite Indie Bookstore:

Goerings Bookstore (Closed in 2010)

“I have to go with the first one I ever frequented, while in high school and college: Goerings Bookstore in Gainesville, Florida. I loved it. It had a rich and wide sense of what literature was, and they also even carried my first, self-published book, The Book of Frog, when I was 17, along with the literary magazine that I published.” —Jeff VanderMeer

3) Sarah Morgan, Ripped

Favorite Indie Bookstore:

“This past weekend I was fortunate enough to sign my first full length novel, Sleigh Bells in the Snow, at Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro, MD, alongside Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis, and other fabulous authors. Turn the Page is a book lover’s paradise, with different rooms stacked high with books, a cute children’s area, and great coffee! It’s the sort of place that invites the reader in and encourages them to spend time browsing with like minded people. I loved it!” —Sarah Morgan

4) Emma Jane Holloway, A Study In Ashes

Favorite Indie Bookstore:

“I live on Vancouver Island, which has some amazing independent bookstores—both new and antiquarian. In Victoria, where I live, there are several worthy candidates, but my personal favorite is Munro’s Books. They’ve always been hugely supportive of my writing career and have an absolutely fabulous SF/F department. Best of all, they have staff who remember what I like and can give me recommendations I trust. Many of my ‘must read’ authors were introduced to me there. The bookstore is worth visiting just for the location—they’re near the inner harbor in a restored 1909 landmark building that was once a bank. The interior is beautiful and they also have a ghost!” —Emma Jane Holloway

5) Mike Lawson, Rosarito Beach

Favorite Indie Bookstore:

“I don’t like the word ‘favorite’—but I’ll answer your question in a moment. I like all indie bookstores—have never been in one I didn’t like—and I want to do whatever I can to make sure they survive in the current environment. Magnolia’s Bookstore in Seattle, Murder by the Book in Houston, Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Clues Unlimited in Tucson, and Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego are all stores that have been very generous to me by carrying my books and allowing me to do signings at their stores. But the store I’m most ‘beholden’ to is Seattle Mystery Bookshop. JB Dickey and the other sellers at the store have been the strongest supporters of my DeMarco books and continue to hand-sell my first novel, The Inside Ring, which was published way back in 2005. So is Seattle Mystery Bookshop my favorite store? Let’s just say it’s the one I owe the most to and will always be grateful to—not to mention that’s it’s a terrific bookstore for mystery/thriller readers.” —Mike Lawson

6) Bruce Wagner, The Empty Chair

Favorite Indie Bookstore:

“My roots go far back to a place on Sunset Boulevard called Book Soup. Glenn Goldman, the owner, sold my first book, Force Majeure, from the cashier counter. It was self-published and I will forever owe him a debt. Glenn is gone now—another empty chair that for me joins the others, things of mystery and beauty. I’m so grateful.” —Bruce Wagner

7) David Skinner, The Story of Ain't LP

Favorite Indie Bookstore:

“My favorite local indie bookstore is Hooray for Books! in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. Most of their books are for children, but as the father of three I am there a lot. Ellen and the staff are discriminating and enthusiastic. They seems to like kids almost as much as they like books. Also, they have a small but very good section of new books for adults.” —David Skinner

8) Thomas Steinbeck, In the Shadow of the Cypress

Favorite Indie Bookstore:

“If you go on my website I do lots of talking about writing, my books, and bookstores. I’m a big supporter of indie bookstores. We have two really great ones in Santa Barbara. The one closest to me is a place called Tecolote Book Shop, tecolote that means owl, and I know the woman who runs it—she’s just delightful. All of us have our own little bookstores where they know you, it’s like Cheers. The other is across town but it’s absolutely fabulous; it’s called Chaucer’s. They’re an old school bookstore. They have everything. It’s great. I can go and get lost for hours.” —Thomas Steinbeck

Favorite Indie Bookstore:

“My favorite indie bookstore is Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA. I was just there to give a talk and it blew me away how in this day and age a relatively small but vibrant independent bookstore could thrive with all sorts of activity, not the least of which is people lining up to buy books in the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday. But most importantly, they have the best coffee in their café!” —Debbie Adler

10) Lauren Beukes, The Shining Girls

Favorite Indie Bookstore:

“Committed indies are the way forward for traditional book stores. The Book Lounge in Cape Town holds events practically every night of the week that bring in between 15 to 200 people depending on the author (of course it helps that we’re allowed to serve free wine at book events in South Africa). They’ve won best independent bookstore in South Africa four years running and they launched their own major literary festival. The staff care and it shows...I want knowledgeable staff with great taste who understand mine and will point me in the direction of novels I wouldn’t necessarily have found on my own.” —Lauren Beukes

11) John Grisham, Sycamore Row

Favorite Indie Bookstore:

“Selling books is far more difficult than writing them….However, a handful of wise booksellers saw something the other did not, and enthusiastically pushed [my debut] A Time to Kill. There were five of them; one was Mary Gay Shipley, of That Bookstore in Blytheville, Arkansas. As soon as [my second novel] The Firm ‘hit the list,’ I was inundated with requests from bookstores to do signings, but I declined, and not out of some sense of revenge. I’d rather spend my time writing, and besides, book tours are not that enjoyable. However, it’s always been easy to remain loyal to those first five stores, especially That Bookstore in Blytheville.” —John Grisham, excerpted from My Bookstore

If you enjoy reading ebooks, but still want to support local stores, check out Zola Books' IndiePledge program. They put a significant amount of each purchase you make towards the store of your choice—keeping your eshelves filled and your favorite store open.

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