October 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm 3 comments

The only independent bookstore in our area, Chester County Book and Music Company, will soon close. I found this news to be extremely upsetting for I have shopped there now for more than twenty years. Last year they were also kind enough to let me have a book signing at the store.

A local author, Kathye Fetsko Petrie, has organized fellow local authors to attend two nights, October 26 and November 23, to show their support for the bookstore. I will be there on the October date. I would appreciate any of my readers that live in the area also to attend.

I have included the well-done piece by Petrie describing the situation for the bookstore and lists of authors that will be in attendance. You may be surprised at the local talent in the area, especially if you are familiar with children and mystery writers.

Included is a link to Petrie’s piece so that you may check out the authors’ blogs or websites.


Soon after it was announced that Chester County Book and Music Company (CCBMC) was on a month-to-month lease and planning to close 60 days after the landlord signed a new tenant, I went to see if anything might be done to keep the store open. I was not alone. Distressed customers have been pouring in to the large independent in West Chester, PA, since the news broke late summer, expressing regrets and offering ideas. As a result Kathy Simoneaux, CCBMC’s owner since 1982 (then with her late husband Bob, who died in 2010), is now considering the possibility of relocating from the store’s present 28,000 square foot selling space—“too big for the current bookselling environment” she told Shelf Awareness—to a smaller space. Customers can fill out a questionnairein person or online at http://www.ccbmc.com to help Simoneaux figure out what that hypothetical bookshop might look like.

Across the country, people are brainstorming ways brick-and-mortar bookstores can survive in the digital future, and readers are lamenting what will be lost if they don’t. The words coziness, community, handselling, occur often. All true. But these are generic words. As I wandered CCBMC during several recent visits, I was reminded of what I love most about it, and reminded of what specifically will be lost if and when we lose this specificbookstore:

ALL THESE MAGAZINES: An entire disappearing wall of them–a glorious selection of titles not often carried elsewhere locally.

TRUE SUPPORT OF LOCAL AUTHORS, whether it be via the always-full “Local Talent” bookcase; or by the individual displays highlighting works by local authors; or by being an always willing and enthusiastic host for launch parties and signings by local authors. CCBMC has also always been able to attract and be A VENUE FOR HIGH-PROFILE AUTHORS who otherwise rarely visit the ‘burbs, but rather confine their appearances to cities.

CCBMC is also…

A PLACE FOR SURPRISES: When was the last time you came around a corner of bookstore and saw a full display of books from small publishers such as these brightly colored “Art of the Novella” titles by Melville House—or any display novellas in a bookstore, for that matter? Translated books, books from academic presses, books grouped by category such as “Great Books, Bad Movies,” and other intriguing displays. can be found throughout the store.

In addition you will find…

BOOKISH GIFTS THAT ARE JUST RIGHT, such as the “Sweet How You Are Still Reading Books” magnetic bookmark and the IN MY BOOK® greeting cards that turn into bookmarks and carry sentiments such as In My Book…You’re Novel.

Additionally, CCBMC has…

EMPLOYEES WHO KNOW YOU LOVE TO “EAT SLEEP READ”because they do also. This truth is in evidence everywhere, particularly via a multitude of handpicked STAFF PICKS. Yes, I know you have seen staff picks in other stores before, but probably never so many—and never so many worth your while.

What I always enjoyed at CCBMC for years and what I am especially touched to see every time I go to CCBMC now is something no other store has, namely…

JOE PICKS. These are the selections of the late Joe Drabyak, bookseller-extraordinaire at CCBMC for many years until his death two years ago this past August 27. Drabyak was so brilliant and beloved that his words and selections still live among the shelves, interspersed among the other staff selections.

So what can be done to save CCBM? Possibly nothing, though we all hope something. A show of ongoing interest via people continuing to shop is certainly an excellent action, though no guarantee. Ultimately, the fate of CCBMC will be the hard decision of owner Kathy Simoneaux, who has difficult economic and no doubt personal factors to consider.

In the meantime, I’m thinking a show of gratitude would be just the thing. Those who love the store can go there now, buy books, fill out the questionnaire, perhaps leaving a note saying how much the store has meant to your life—not to sway the outcome, which is out of your hands, but to merely say “thanks you for being here for me all these years,” and “I love you.” Much as you would say to those you love today and every day, while they are alive and healthy and still here.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Plans are underway for two special“AUTHORS SAY THANK YOU TO CCBMC” nights at Chester County Book & Music Company this fall onOctober 26 andNovember 23, from6 to 9 PM. On these dates, area authors will gather to shop, talk, eat at the Magnolia Cafe and mingle with each other and customers to celebrate, say thank you and support this wonderful independent bookstore that has supported local authors and readers for over 30 years. Won’t you join us?

Authors are confirming daily so please check back.

Cordelia France Biddle

Jen Bryant

Nero Blanc
Jim Breslin

Jessica Dimuzio

Merry Jones
Susan Beth Lehman
Lisa Loeb
Susan Marie Kelley

Bruce Mowday
Kathye Fetsko Petrie

Jan Mulligan
Marc Schuster
Kelly Simmons

Gloria Slater
Chris Shaughness

Jerry Spinelli

Eileen Spinelli
Joelle Sterling
Laura Tamakosh
Walt Trizna
Steve Zettler

Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
Beth Kephart

Stephen Fried
Jonathan McGoran
Karen E. Quinones Miller

Jan Mulligan
Kathye Fetsko Petrie

Chris Shaughness

Lisa Scottoline

Francesca Serritella
Kelly Simmons

K.M. Walton


Here is the link so you can appreciate the full article and checkout the authors.



Entry filed under: READER'S OPPORTUNITIES, Update, Walt Trizna, WALT'S OBSERVATIONS, WALT'S OPINIONS. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .


3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Wordwrights  |  October 14, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Reblogged this on Wordwrights' Blog and commented:
    I think it’s very important to keep bookstores open! Please read this and spread the word so we can keep Chester County Book & Music Company open!

  • 2. sherriepalmer  |  October 14, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this! Very important information. We need to keep bookstores open!

  • 3. sherriepalmer  |  October 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Reblogged this on Sherrie's Scriptorium and commented:
    I feel we need to keep bookstores open and would hate to lose this wonderful local store. Please read this and see if you can help. Thanks!


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