Some folks might be surprised to learn that all bookstores were originally 'mom and pop' stores, and it was Kmart, not Wal-Mart, that first put many of those bookstores out of business. Then, Wal-Mart (in the late 1980s) did its part to devastate and decimate small businesses in America. In the mid 1990s came the 'big box' bookstores, also known as category killers, along with the other 'big box' stores in many industries – again killing off many family-owned businesses. Over the past 10 years, the internet has killed off thousands of those 'big box' bookstores - and independent bookstores are doing better than they have in... well, forever. It is said “history repeats itself, but not in the same way” - and that has certainly been true in the book business over the past half century. I'm not complaining - just explaining: much of my academic training is in the sociological study of business, consumers and decision science - also called 'behavioral economics.'
The thing I have enjoyed most about the book business is helping book buyers make good decisions in book purchases - not just buying bargains, buying cheap and buying “stuff.” My philosophical belief is “good books grow brain cells and bad books destroy them.” My job, like Hippocrates, is to “first, do no harm.” The saddest thing I observe is folks making unknown irrational decisions because they are unknowingly manipulated by shrewd marketers.
I hope you'll take time to visit I Love Books Bookstore in the Fort Henry Mall if you love books, honey, loose-leaf tea, organic herbs and spices, essential oils, or if you love to learn. That's my thing - it isn't that I love books so much as I love learning. But that phrase doesn't make as much impact for a store name as the other one – and I do really love books too.
The Fort Henry Mall is looking great these days with new lighting, beautiful murals, new entrances, the new NCG Theatre, Dunham’s Sports and much more. Pardon our dust during renovation, but the place is looking classy.
I Love Books still has a good selection of 2018 calendars, boxed Christmas cards, single Christmas cards, and many best-selling books at substantial discounts. Of course, we still have lots of local and regional books and featured authors, including Earl Carter's “Appalachian Album,” Vince Staten's “An UnCONVENTIONAL History of Kingsport,” most of the Rotary books on Kingsport published over the past 80 years, and a big selection of the “Images of America” books on Kingsport and quite a number of other towns and cities in our area.
We always have lots of in-store “unadvertised specials” on new, used and rare books, including library carts of 'gently-used' recent bestsellers at 75 percent off original prices. Extended store hours until Christmas are from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and noon until 8 p.m. on Sundays.
I have over 100,000 (extra) books I need to move out of our warehouses, so come and see me. Remember, for Christmas, we also have a large selection of Bibles; many of which can be engraved.
Looking to add a personal touch? We have autographed copies of many books on hand, but Vince Staten will be here on Saturday if you want a personalized copy of “An UnCONVENTIONAL History of Kingsport: The Colorful Characters Who Created a City.” Earl Carter and Calvin Sneed will be here next Sunday signing books too. Watch our ads for times.