Skip to content
Posted on June 14, 2023

As the Crow Flies: 571 New Bookstores and Counting!

Nosy Crow has soared through our very first Children’s Institute!

It was an inspiring few days in Milwaukee as I connected with new and old fans of Nosy Crow books and soaked up indie knowledge from all corners of the US. I had the chance to connect with booksellers on trends, new ideas, and of course, the books that they are most excited about. (ONE had quite a fanbase before I even stepped foot off the plane…)

While at the conference, I met the new owners of two Boston-area indies: Kate Keisling of The Purple Couch in North Andover, and Lauren Tiedemann and Jillian Hartline of Book Ends in Winchester.

The Purple Couch will be an entirely new shop to the area, with a grand opening planned for later this year. You’ll find everything from board books to serious nonfiction on their shelves, and you can take an early sneak peek at their staff picks for the summer here.

The future home of The Purple Couch in Andover, MA.

Tiedemann and Hartline are longtime booksellers embarking into the world of owning an independent bookstore after many years of experience in the field. They are taking over Book Ends after its years of care by the previous owners, and revamping the store, applying their bookseller expertise to management, ordering, and events—including a kick-off adult book fair on June 25! (Here is the event page for all of us who dearly miss the days of the Scholastic Book Fair.). Also, important to note, Lauren and I both came to the opening reception dressed as Pippi Longstocking and this is how the conversation started.

Book Ends in Winchester, MA.

In his opening keynote, Printz-award-winning author Daniel Nayeri offered a truly awe-some statistic: in 2022 alone, the US has seen the opening of 571 new independent bookstores. Can you imagine?! There are 571 towns and cities across the country with a new space for building community, pre-ordering that fall book that you SIMPLY CANNOT WAIT FOR, and finding stories that transplant us from our own worlds into the worlds of our neighbors (both real and fictional, of course…)

As an independent press, we’ve caught the contagious excitement that’s emanating from the booming indie scene. Just in our microcosm of a city, we can see this downtown, in the ‘burbs’, and everywhere in between. Last year, Porter Square Books: Boston Edition opened along the waterfront in the Seaport District, where it shares a space with the famous Grub Street writers’ workshop and boasts an inviting event space around the Calderwood Writers’ Stage.

Cross the Charles into downtown and dodge Freedom Trail tour groups to make your way to Beacon Hill Books, in the historic neighborhood for which it’s named. The combination bookshop-café will celebrate its first birthday this September, as it continues to offer Bostonians a good read with a spot of Afternoon Tea.

Just up the street, we’ll soon have a space to find great books alongside great (furry) company at A Sanctuary Café, equal parts cat café and independent bookshop set to open this fall. Sanctuary will also connect with the local community through its book donation system: for every book purchased, they will donate another to a student in the Boston Public Schools.

And that’s not the end of it! This past year has also seen the expansion of the legendary Brookline Booksmith into a next-door property that’s perfect for displaying staff picks and hosting events—one being a performance by Nosy Crow’s own Fred Small, author of Everything Possible/Todo lo Posible, to ring in Pride Month. You can get a signed copy here while supplies last.

A Little Bookish in Ooltewah, TN.

As you might guess from the figure of 571, the indie boom has not been a phenomenon confined to Beantown: Abby Dan and Betsy Haberl of Booked in Evanston, Illinois, opened their doors for the first time less than 24 hours before journeying to Milwaukee for the conference. Miranda Atkins of A Little Bookish in Ooltewah, Tennessee was attending as the owner of her mobile bookshop after recently expanding into a second location, this one with four fewer wheels and one more street address.

And these are just the few that I had the pleasure to meet. Boston indies were up two for 2022, set to be three for 2023, and who knows what the number is when you add up all the new shops from here to the west coast? And isn’t that something to crow about?!

Avery Cook is the Marketing Associate at Nosy Crow and the proud owner of a Jeff Goldblum shower curtain.