The mall renovation is going great with the recent opening of the beautiful new NCG Cinemas, the new design look for the main mall entrance and the upcoming opening of the massive Dunham's Sports as a new mall anchor.
The independent book business is really coming back strong as we're consistently seeing monthly sales records reaching 20-year highs; both the quantity and quality of new release books by popular authors are increasing. E-books are virtually dead, diving at a rate of nearly 20 percent per year (after peaking in 2013)according to the Association of American Publishers. Big name authors and publishers are now doing many of their author events and book signings at independent bookstores - we're working with New York agents and publicists to get some of those well-known authors to Kingsport.
Because our inventory of books grows daily and demand for products from our over 300 categories varies as trends change, we're currently rearranging several sections of the bookstore. For several years we have used antique China cabinets to display signed first editions and specialty book categories, so I got an idea from John Grisham's latest book, "Camino Island," to create a limited admission section of the bookstore for signed first editions and special collections. We’re also making about 10,000 of our “online only” unique titles accessible to local customers through our exclusive website that uses the address www.kingsportbooks.com. Until now those books were only available through our online resellers including Alibris and Barnes & Noble.
We currently have three author events scheduled in September and one in October.
Local author Cindy Sproles, who is nationally published through Kregel Publications, just released "Liar's Winter: An Appalachian Novel" - the sequel to her bestselling "Mercy's Rain." We have autographed copies of both titles in stock now and will be sponsoring a special "Launch Party Meet and Greet" with Cindy in the mall on Sunday, Sept. 10.
The following Sunday afternoon (Sept. 17), we're hosting regional author Fred Sauceman and Ridgewood Barbecue owner Larry Proffitt for an event featuring the September release of "The Proffitts of Ridgewood: An Appalachian Family's Life in Barbecue."
And finally, on Sunday, Sept. 24, we'll have Karen Spears Zacharias for a book signing and the release of her newest book, "Christian Bend," the third in the "Mother of Rain" series - historical novels set in the Christian's Bend area of Hawkins County. Karen, who lives in Oregon now, and her family were living in Rogersville when her dad, Dave Spears, was killed from a mortar explosion in the Vietnam War. She will also be in town for the dedication of the new Gold Star Family Monument at Kingsport Veteran's Memorial in J. Fred Johnson Park. The subtitle of her non-fiction book, "After the Flag Has Been Folded: A Daughter Remembers the Father She Lost to War - And the Mother Who Held Her Family Together," frames the story of her formative years growing up without a dad and with a hardworking mother.
You'll also want to save this date: Wednesday evening, Oct. 11. Sharyn McCrumb will be in town as our guest, signing her forthcoming book, "An Unquiet Grave." Many folks remember Sharyn’s Appalachian ballads, several of which were set in Northeast Tennessee and Western North Carolina.
At I Love Books Bookstore, we have continuous ongoing sales and bargain racks. See our selection of 'gently-used' hardcover books at 75 percent off, our wide selection of local and regional books, and our special deals on New York Times bestsellers. We're located upstairs in the Fort Henry Mall and open seven days a week.