Come Party at Fab Indie Trappe Book Center

Independent bookstores are taking a huge hit around the country, many of them closing down because they have been forsaken by patrons in favor of online retailers or chain bookstores.  But if you love books, you have to love independent bookstores. That means you have to support them so you’ll always have that cool store where you can hang out and browse titles you won’t find on chain store shelves.   So you’ll always have a place where the seller knows EVERYTHING about books, and can steer you in the right direction when you are looking for a certain type of read.

That’s why me and my buds at the Philly Liars Club have been on our “Truth Tour” throwing a series of parties to celebrate our fav indie bookstores.  Next is our “Liars Tell the Truth about the Trappe Book Center” bash, which will be held at the store, located on 130 W. Main Street in Collegeville, PA on Saturday, April 17th from 1-3 p.m. This event, which is free and open to the public, features free goodies, eight authors, and chances to win prizes that include book bags and signed books. There will even be a story time for kids, featuring an original picture book manuscript read by author Keith Strunk.

The Philly Liar’s Club is a group of professional writers who basically lie for a living. Visitors to the April 17th celebration will get to play Truth or Lie games for prizes, and will enjoy hanging out with the following Liars: Stoker and Nebula nominated fantasy author Gregory Frost (titles include Shadowbridge, and Lord Tophet, Del Rey/Random House); author of dynamic forensics thrillers Jon McGoran, who writes as D.H. Dublin (titles include Freezer Burn, Berkley); women’s contemporary fiction author Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, Washington Square Press/Simon and Schuster); celebrated crime writer Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s); social media guru and magazine feature writer Don Lafferty; popular author of young adult novels Marie Lamba (What I Meant…, Random House); best selling mystery novelist Merry Jones (titles include The Borrowed and Blue Murders, Minotaur Books); and actor, playwright and historian Keith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing Images of America Series).

“We’ll be there partying to highlight all that is wonderful about Trappe Book Center,” says author Merry Jones.  “Independent bookstores are special places, each with their own personality. We want everyone to think of the indies first when it comes to purchasing a book. They offer everything the competition does, and then some.”

At Trappe Book Center, for example, visitors can browse through the store’s extensive stock, which highlights a unique collection of books that you won’t find at any megastore.  “We have excellent customer service, and really know our titles,” says Kit Little, Trappe’s marketing manager. “But if you don’t see what you want here, we have access to over four million titles – virtually any book in print.  Just let us know, and we’ll get that book to you usually within two days.” Orders can be placed in person, over the phone, or by visiting www.trappebookcenter.com.

“The best part is that when you buy from an indie like Trappe Book Center, you are keeping your dollars local, and benefiting your own community,” says author Jon McGoran.

Locally owned and operated, Trappe Book Center serves as a hub of cultural activity for the area.  They offer book clubs for adults and kids, free literary events, and they often work with organizations to help them fundraise for important local causes.  The store has conducted a Battle of the Books to celebrate literacy, and has run an Angel Tree over the holidays to provide books for local children in need.  “We are always seeking new ways to be involved in our community,” says Little, who points out that the store also works with over 200 local schools to help with events, fundraising and special programs.

“I can’t imagine what life would be like without wonderful independent bookstores like this,” says author Kelly Simmons.  “Come out to this party, and show this store you value indies everywhere.  It’s going to be a blast.  Hey, would I lie?”

For more information, or to reserve a copy of an author’s book before the event, call the Trappe Book Center at 610-454-0640.

Wellington Square Bookshop: a touch of class, a dash of whimsy

Philly Liars Club authors!

Once again, the Philly Liars Club is throwing a Truth Tour party to raise awareness of independent bookstores, and this one is just in time for the holidays!  This bash, “Liars Tell the Truth about Wellington Square Bookshop,” is at the bookstore, located in the Eagleville development at 543 Wellington Square, in Exton on Saturday, December 5th from noon-2 p.m. The festivities are free and open to the public, and include goodies, our famed Truth or Lie trivia game, and prizes including autographed book bags and signed books.  Plus candy canes…

Here are the Liars who will be there: Bram Stoker award winner Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero, St. Martin’s), fantasy author Gregory Frost (Shadowbridge, and Lord Tophet, Del Rey/Random House), young adult author Marie Lamba…me… (What I Meant…, Random House), contemporary novelist Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, Washington Square Press/Simon and Schuster), debut crime novelist Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s), historical author Keith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing Images of America Series), mystery author Merry Jones (The Borrowed and Blue Murders, Minotaur Books), mystery author Jon McGoran who writes as D.H. Dublin (Freezer Burn, Berkley Books), and social media marketing consultant, writer and lecturer Don Lafferty.

And, once again, our mission is clear: Support indendent bookstores!  We hate seeing online retailers and big chain bookstores squeeze out indies all over the country.  Can you imagine your town without any bookstore at all? Well, it’s happening everywhere.  So this holiday season, we are asking everyone to do gift shopping at your wonderful local indie!   They are special and unique.

Cozy seating at Wellington Square Bookshop

As soon as you step into Wellington Square Bookshop, you know it’s unique.  Maybe it’s the fountain, or the tin ceilings, or the pillars that look like they’ve been taken from an ancient Indian palace. The store, which was originally located a few doors down in an 800 sq ft space, just relocated to its current location this past August. It now occupies a 3700 sq ft space, and includes an elegant gourmet coffee shop with goodies from Delightful Desserts of West Chester.

And of course there are the books: new titles, used titles, first editions and rare books. “We are definitely NOT a Barnes and Noble,” says Jolie Miao, who works at the store. The shop refuses to carry Oprah’s book club picks or Twilight, but here you will find many a treasured titled you won’t easily find elsewhere. They also offer free book appraisal services to anyone who asks. In addition, the store carries gift items including candles, book lights, notebooks and packaged coffees. And for the undecided holiday shopper, there are gift cards.

Great coffees and snacks...I taste-tested 'em to be sure

The differences from the chain bookstores run deeper than the store’s beautiful architecture and eclectic selection of books. “We are chill people and we like to have fun,” says Miao.  “We all read voraciously in our free time, and love to discuss books over a cup of coffee with a customer! As an independent bookstore, we really can get to know our customers.” This all translates into great service. They can personally recommend books to people, and have been known to call customers when that new book from a favorite author finally arrives or gets announced in a press release. “We love to meet bookies who share our passion,” Miao says.  “We’re truly in it for the books first.”

The community is starting to notice, and is taking part in events at the store including author signings, a weekly story time, and two book clubs.  The bookstore also welcomes outside book clubs to hold their meetings in the shop. And to sweeten the deal, Wellington Square Bookshop will even give these clubs free coffee and pastries, along with 20% off their club’s book purchases.

“This store is a gem,” says author Dennis Tafoya, who urges people to think of independent bookstores first before going to that online retailer or chain store. “By shopping at independents for your holiday purchases, you’ll help ensure that unique stores like Wellington Square Bookshop will be here for us for years to come.”

Remember, we all can make a huge difference here.  Browse at all of those little shops.  Visit their online sites and order that way.  Buy indie bookstore gift cards.  Make a difference!