by Christina Cavanaugh

The Poisoned Pen Bookstore, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, does its best to connect the creators of books and their fans. Founded in 1989, the independent store specializes in collecting and distributing mysteries, thrillers, historical and literary fiction works.

Its trendy alliterative name isn’t the only thing that ensnares interested passerby’s in its web; the store also goes out of its way to attempt to secure autographed copies, first editions and imported works and pass them along to its customers.

Headquartered in an area known as the Art District of Old Town Scottsdale, the shop is well-known for its Q&A and book signing events that allow for members of the local community to meet and greet with their favorite artists, in addition to increasing the value of pieces in their book collections.

The Pen posts its monthly “Booknews,” a letter that lists upcoming book signings, recent book award winners, announcements within the publishing community and new book releases. Fresh content on its blog and interviews with authors also provide a window that lets fans view the goings-on of the literary world.

Its website also allows for readers to view all kinds of upcoming events, and includes everything from book discussions to signings and club meetings. Lists of recommendations are also posted to the website, helping readers find their next exciting tale, no matter what the genre.

Book suggestion lists are compiled based on staff members’ recommendations, what’s hot in different genres, new publications according to genre, what authors are having their works promoted and what the different clubs are featuring. The lists, available to everyone and anyone with a passion for the written word, allow visitors to the Pen’s site to find a host of new reads to sink their teeth into.

The Pen’s Book Clubs allow members to have books picked for them and shipped to their houses. Rather than having to select their own titles, signing up for a Book Club allows the store to ship you signed copies of books monthly that can line your bookshelf for years to come.

Containing everything from the British Book Club to the “Surprise Me! Club” allows the Poisoned Pen to cater to all kinds of audiences that pass through its portal. They even allow you to gift their services; if you have a friend that’s a huge book fan, you can sign him or her up to receive the monthly autographed books as a great gift!

The Pen also has amassed a collection of signed books from authors that it is willing to sell and ship to you-a characteristic that makes it different from many bookstores, who charge a great deal more for their books. The Poisoned Pen is able to achieve such an extensive collection of autographed works by maintaining relationships with authors, frequently hosting them for signing and keeping in contact to restock its piles of books for sale.

The Poisoned Pen also hosts an annual conference that gives readers, writers and die-hard fans the chance to hear from experts on the industry that can give them invaluable experience. Not only that, many writers are present to sign copies of their books, which are available for sale on site.

A fantastic bookstore, with so much to offer it’s readers and authors alike; most who experience The Poisoned Pen are unlikley to forget it or ever want to leave it.

Images courtesy of The Poisoned Pen

Christina Cavanaugh is a rising senior at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA., where she is a triple major in Journalism, English and Spanish. She is an editor of her school’s paper and is currently pursuing an honors thesis based on portrayal of women’s roles in British Renaissance literature. When she’s not reading,writingediting or studying, she can be found volunteering her time as an EMT-B.