by Tashe House

When searching Acorn Books‘ website, underneath a welcoming header there reads “Staff’. Once you click on the link, a list of Acorn Books staff members (including the book store owners) are displayed, complete with photos and bios. Not exactly the type of information you would find on a major chain bookstore’s website. Therein lies the attraction of independent shops, they offer a personal touch.

Dover, Delaware’s Acorn Books distinction rests on the fact that it’s the only independent bookstore in Kent County. It replaced Atlantic Books, which employed future Acorn Books founders, Marie Shane and Ginny Jewell, and it closed in late 2011. Shane and Jewell opened the indie shop just a year ago and kept up the familial sense with their recognizable faces.

Shane believes people support independent bookstores because they “know their customers better”.  She stated the relationship between the shop and its customers “feels like family”. She is not only the owner, but an employee as well, a fact demonstrated by Shane’s regular appearances on the floor. She even enjoys personally calling a customer and letting them know the book they have been anxiously waiting for is in.

acornAcorn Books reiterates the sense of family by taking care of the youth in its community. For one weekend, the independent shop held a charitable book fair that donated ten percent of its sales to a local charter school. It also incorporated the students into its family by allowing the students to participate in the transaction of sales and advertising for the event.

The bookstore offers other events that occur weekly, such as; Open Mic Night, Poetry Readings and Book Clubs, just to name a few. Acorn Books also offers workshops such as writer’s classes and critique groups.Additionally, the community and the bookstore taking care of one another is exemplified with the relationship between Acorn Books and local poet and author of The Light and other Collected Poems, and Parallel DreamJanet Scott McDaniel. Shane professes McDaniel has been a huge proponent for the store even prior to its opening.

“Bookstores being scared of e-readers is like stairs being scared of escalators.” — Shane and Jewell

Shane and Jewell both agree that the independent bookstore market has nothing to worry about in regards to the technological “competition” out there. She is confident that a liking for a good, old fashioned papermade book will remain and as long as it does, book readers will always have a place to call home in Acorn Books.

 Tashe House is a recent graduate of North Carolina Central University where she majored in English with a concentration in writing. She is currently a Publishing intern for Author’s Boutique and she is excited about entering into a Masters program next fall.

Images courtesy of Zsuzsanna Kilian  and Acorn Books

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