Georgia Magazine - March 2018 - 37
"A bookseller can't sit around
and read all day," she says. "So much
effort goes into creating this space.
I've had to learn to have an entrepreneurial spirit. It's the hardest I've
ever worked, but I love introducing
people to books."
COURTESY THE BOOKSHELF
E. Shaver, bookseller, Savannah
Twice a year, The Bookshelf in Thomasville
hosts Pen to Plate dinners in partnership
with a local catering company. The chef
cooks recipes from a designated new cookbook, and the price of tickets to the dinner
includes the meal and a copy of the book.
(Continued from page 35)
This large bookstore has been
a fixture on Bull Street's historic
Madison Square since Esther and Ed
Shaver founded it in 1975. There are
seven rooms of new fiction and nonfiction, specializing in local and regional topics that interest locals and
About three years ago, Esther
Shaver decided to retire and brought
on co-owner Jessica Osborne.
"I loved reading and had clothing retail experience. I thought long
and hard about the challenge, but I
didn't want this store to go away. It
was important to the community, so I
took it on. It's been a steep learning
curve," Osborne says.
She's mastered the accounting
and updated the inventory and online systems. She's devoted space
in the front to a local tea shop that
customers appreciate and has added more children's and young-adult
books. With advice from the American Booksellers Association and the
Southern Independent Booksellers
Alliance, she's breathing new life into
COURTESY E. SHAVER, BOOKSELLER
different," she says.
Jones has created a community
gathering space for readers, nonreaders, writers and children. Book and
craft events explore plants, cookiedecorating, chess and other hobbies.
A partnership with the local yarn
shop, Fuzzy Goat, brings knitters together to hear audiobooks at Stitches
& Stories meetings.
"Being in a city that supports its
local businesses is huge, and when
businesses partner, it helps everyone," Jones says.
Her weekly podcast,
"From the Front Porch," covers books and life in the
"You have to be creative.
I'm constantly brainstorming. Some ideas are wonderful and some a flop, but I
love interacting with people
around books," Jones says.
She thrills when a reluctant reader asks her for the
next book in the Hardy Boys
series and then crosses it off
a list from his pocket when
she produces it. It makes her E. Shaver, bookseller, has been nestled on Savannah's
feel good that young custom- picturesque Madison Square since 1975. The shop
specializes in rare, collectible and signed editions.
ers feel comfortable here.
More online at www.georgiamagazine.org
More independent bookstores
A Cappella Books, Atlanta
Atlanta Vintage Books, Chamblee
Avid Bookshop, Athens
The Book Tavern, Augusta
E. Quinn Booksellers, Blue Ridge
Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur
G.J. Ford Bookshop, St. Simons Island
Read Shop, Atlanta
The Story Shop, Monroe
Tall Tales Books, Atlanta
"You aren't going to buy a second home when you own a bookstore, but you can make a living," Osborne says.
Her favorite part is working with
customers to locate a hard-to-find
volume or to recommend a new author.
"I love it when someone tells me
that he's loved every book I've recommended," she says. "Being an avid
reader can be a lovely life, but getting to talk about books all day long?
I love that."
Independent bookstores are
unique in that they have deeper
shelves, she says. They can stock
things you won't find everywhere
else. E. Shaver prides itself on rare,
collectible and signed editions that
are reasonably priced.
"Local bookstores are gathering
places," she says. "They help create
a sense of community, and we don't
ever want to lose that."
Laura Raines is a Mableton-based
freelance writer, an avid reader and
writer, and a longtime supporter of