Indie Spotlight- Beach Books in Seaside Oregon

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It’s my great pleasure to introduce one of Oregon’s great coastal bookstores, Beach Books in Seaside, Oregon. Store owner Karen Emerling graciously took a moment away from the holiday rush to share her thoughts with the Mixed-Up Files.

Everybody who opens an independent bookstore has a bookstore dream, and that’s what makes each one unique. What was yours? 
UnknownI hadn’t really thought about opening a bookstore, despite my life-long love of reading, until I attended Wordstock in the Spring of 2005. Standing in the Convention Center, surrounded by booksellers, publishers, authors, and thousands of books, I realized this was where I should haimages-1ve been all my life.So, that Fall when I became an empty-nester, I made that dream a reality. I opened a cozy little bookstore on a side street in Seaside and in the Spring of 2013, moved to what I consider the best spot in town.
Congratulations on your move! I love the bigger store on Broadway and Holladay. The new place feels so light and airy. What have you added or changed since moving?
imagesThe move has given us more visibility and space to expand, adding more books, but also more sidelines such as art supplies, puzzles, socks and a whole lot more cards. The expansion also gave us more room for our events, including participating in the monthly Seaside Downtown Art Walk and hosting our delightful Lunch in the Loft series which we host monthly with regional authors. It’s a wonderful way to introduce our local customers to some of the Northwest’s finest authors. They get a chance to chat and share a catered meal.
How do you help connect readers
with books they will enjoy?
The Lunch in the Loft series is one of the ways we connect readers with books and authors they come to love. The other thing we do is to have tags hanging off some of our staff favorites. Over time, customers seem to identify with one of us that has similar taste and they look for what that person is recommending.
In a small bookshop, there is only room for good books. How do you decide what titles to carry?

I choose books based on ones we read and like from the advance copies sent by publishers, recommendations from customers, lists of what is selling well at other independent bookstores in similar markets and books discussed on NPR. We carry many local authors – and there seem to be more and more local authors – and books related to the coast. Children’s books with stories/information based on the beach are particularly popular with tourists.

And finally, any big plans for the holiday season?

images-2For the holidays were participating in Small Business Saturday and carrying the Pacific Northwest Bookseller Association holiday catalog with a 10% discount on the great books they have included. We also celebrate by having a Wishing Tree for books requested by the school libraries at the four schools in the Seaside district. Customers earn a discount on the books they give and on a book for themselves.

Thank you so much for sharing Karen. If you happen to be on the Oregon Coast You can find Beach Books at 616 Broadway, Seaside, Oregon 97138. They are open from 10-6 on winter weekdays and 10-8 on the weekend. And if you are not lucky enough to visit the Oregon coast, please visit your independent bookseller this holiday season. Beyond all the benefits that come from shopping locally, independent bookstores play a vital role in keeping literary fiction for all ages alive and thriving in a world of chain stores that cares more for the predictable blockbuster than the art of good story telling. I would not be able to write the books I do if indie bookstores were not out there looking for them and sharing them with readers.  Thank you!

Rosanne Parry
Rosanne Parry is the author of a 4 MG novels and the forthcoming A WOLF CALLED WANDER and LAST OF THE NAME. She is a bookseller at Annie Blooms and teaches in the Masters in Book Publishing program at Portland State. She writes in a treehouse in her back yard.
1 Comment
  1. Thanks for this Rosanne. Next time I’m in Oregon I’ll definitely head to Beach Books!