by Tashe House
Rainy Day Books assures it is the “best in America” for creative author events, for which it has developed a national reputation. Countless famous and diverse authors have paid a visit to the Kansas City bookstore,from every genre and specialty, it seems authors flock to Rainy Day Books. This bookstore has been fortunate enough to have visits from George Bush, Stephanie Meyer, even Lee Child, allowing it to be one of the leading independent bookstores in the nation.
This indie bookstore began its story 38 years ago when the only owner, Vivien Jennings, opened shop for customers to purchase and recycle paperbacks in just a small 450 square feet home. The store has since grown, and though it has remained within the same shopping center, it’s blossomed into a full-line bookstore of 2,500 square feet.
Rainy Day holds its famous author events offsite at Unity Temple, which can regularly seat up to 1,250 people. The bookshop has also had a bevy of appearances from local authors, such as Candice Millard, author of Destiny of the Republic, David Von Drehle, author of Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year to more famed and acclaimed names likeJulie Garwood, author of Hotshot, and Jim Butcher, author of infamous the Dresden File series.
Their scheduled November author events are Diane Setterfield, Newt Gingrich, Jared Diamond and Pat Conroy. All fantastic events that demand loyal readers attention. An opportunity that you should not miss, Rainy Day Books’ author events allow for authors, both local and famous alike to meet, interact and inspire their fans and readers.
The indie shop often partners with non-profit organizations to bring authors to town. It is also active in founding a few major community fundraising projects, including Books and Boutiques and Reach Out and Read. Because of their inspiring community service efforts, in addition to being one of the most prestigious independent booksellers in the country, Rainy Day Books has been the recipient of many awards. However Jennings is most proud of being invited to participate in Forbes Magazine’s CEO forum in Scotland on the Global Innovative Machine: Fueling New Growth in Tough Times.
“Bigger isn’t better. Better is better.”
A famous quote from the owner herself, she explains it as being philosophical to how she runs her business and her life. There is always work to be done, and Jennings is interested not so much in what they have done, but more in what they still want to do. Jennings finds it thrilling to watch people leave their events with the knowledge that authors and their books can expand the attendees’ awareness, improve health, make them laugh, touch hearts, and encourage people to achieve a better life in a better world.
Jennings feels independent bookstores are instrumental in providing “buzz and hand-selling support” for the book industry. She assures doubters of the indie booksellers’ resilience, that there is a “real strength for the organic book” and there is an “ever-growing appreciation and respect” for indie shops in the book industry. Rainy Day Books proves there is still an attraction of authors to independent bookstores and this sentiment will allow indie shops to have a firm position within in the book industry.
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.