Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Memphis Shopping: The Booksellers at Laurelwood

I love books.

This is a pretty well-established fact.

I worked out an extra 20 minutes at the gym the other day so I could finish a chapter on the treadmill. (I have "gym" books that I keep on my ipad and only read at the gym so I don't blow through them - I'm reading "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness and it's AWESOME.)

So when I first moved to Memphis, one of the first things I sought out was a good, local bookstore.

There's nothing wrong with Barnes and Noble. But the closest one here is way out east, and, while they're actually really good about ordering things and are very friendly, that's not always the case.

I order a ton of stuff off Amazon, but there's just something about going into a bookstore. And local bookstores often have cool stuff too, making them a great place to buy gifts or seasonal things.

And I desperately needed French Vogue for a research project my second semester of grad school.

Guess how much a subscription to French Vogue is in the US.

Just guess.

It's $155 on Amazon.

So I needed to just buy a couple of issues - recent ones, and without a ton of hassle.

Barnes and Noble didn't have it.

The library didn't have it.

But my adviser pointed me toward Davis-Kidd. And they did have it. And they quickly became my favorite bookstore in Memphis.

A couple of years later, the company that owned Davis-Kidd went bankrupt, the store was going to have to close, and everyone was very sad.


The man who owned the chain (small local-ish one) bought the store from the liquidators, got a new lease due to the generosity of Laurelwood shopping center, and reopened as The Booksellers at Laurelwood.

There are still some signs of the old bookstore, and a lot of things are the same.

*Still visible through the windows - and half the people in Memphis still call it Davis-Kidd. 

*Fact: Bargain books are part of the reason I'm a book hoarder. 

One of the best things about The Booksellers at Laurelwood is their involvement in and care for the community. They have a huge community bulletin board, and they have the "Gives Back Program," where members can choose a local charity for a percentage of their purchases' prices to go to. You also get a ton of coupons (Including a $25 one to the Booksellers Bistro, they're really good restaurant, which negates the cost of the membership really) and you can choose to donate to Literacy Mid-South, Theatre Memphis, WKNO, Le Bonheur, or Arts Memphis

*Too many things to do. 

The building is really cool too. It's set up nicely - that perfect combination of enough room to shop and browse, but cozy enough that it feels like a bookstore. And I love the door handles: 

Huge stacks of books. This is the shit, man. 

*Also, I HATE that they've outed JK Rowling as the author of Cuckoo's Calling, and now that's on the books - they should let it sell on its merit, like she wanted it to. That's not The Booksellers fault...I just needed to rant. 

*They also stock a ton of local histories, authors, and cookbooks, including this one from Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. I needs it. 

The history section is even pretty good!

*The history section isn't super academic, but there are some gems. I don't have a problem with popular history, and I think The Booksellers does a great job at making it, and other unfamiliar topics and works, accessible through placements like this: 
While I was there, it was almost time for my favorite week of the year - Banned Books week!
Books should never be banned. Censorship is wrong. Even if a book has things in it that people find objectionable (rape, murder, racism, sex, magic, whatever) you can always get something out of it, and keeping people from reading books is like keeping them from breathing. 

*One of my faves. 

*Actually, I hate this book because I was forced, in high school, to read it out loud along with the rest of the class. For a bored, angry, and too smart for my own good teenager to listen to her peers slowly read this, and then talk about it like it wasn't speaking against the racism they clung to, was pretty awful. I switched to Honors English the next year (and away from the teacher who also, unsurprisingly, hated me) and it was much better.

The Booksellers also has a lot of STUFF. I'm a sucker for cute little knicknacks so this gets really dangerous really fast. However, it's all really cool and I've found some great gifts there. 

*I have no idea why this is so fuzzy. I was probably shaking with excitement over all the cuteness. 

*It's especially dangerous for those of us who just up and leave sometimes. 

*And who have pets that love (or we make them love) cute stuff. 

*Although The Pink Door is right across the street, I've found a larger variety of Lilly and Jonathan Adler stuff at Booksellers.

And of course they have all my favorite books. Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series is always nice to see. 

Even though it's not usually super applicable for me, one of the highlights of The Booksellers is a massive children's and YA section. I like the idea of kids reading, and I had to pick out a gift for Kirby's little girl's birthday, so I headed over there and tried not to be creepy. 

I mean, I tried. 

*I NEED Zombelina in my life. 

*This is what I ended up getting her. I loved this as a kid, and it's just as ridiculous as I remember now. 

*Seriously, this part is huge. There were a bunch of kids doing homework and hanging out, so I didn't want to take pics and be weird, but there's something for every kid here. I was especially into the vintage Pooh and Peter Rabbit, and of course, my main man, Dr. Seuss.

The Booksellers also does book talks and signings, and they have a nice little area set up for that. 

Here are those international magazines. I'm serious - the selection is huge. There's Paris Vogue, Vogue Italia, Vogue Espanol, a ton of French cooking and living magazines, and a lot of British magazines as well. I used to buy the UK Brides magazine here.

*I've realized that I can't ever be French because I would make all of what's happening on this cover look like I lived in a cardboard box, not like couture. 

Also, if you're getting married, they have a TON of bridal magazines. I don't know that there are any directed at men, which just gets ridiculous and weddings are sexist and silly but LOOK AT THE PRETTY DRESSES!!!

I'm okay.


This is such a great resource for gifts - look at all the board games!

They also have a ton of kitchen stuff and cookbooks. 


*I have a cookbook/kitchen shit problem. Ask my roommate. 

The Booksellers also has a great restaurant, the Booksellers Bistro (which used to be the Bronte Bistro - and maybe still is? Whatever it's so good they could call it "Gross" and I'd still eat there). One of the cool things is they cook meals from the cookbooks they sell, and they're lunches are great. Seriously, the Chicken Salad Croissant puts all other chicken salad sandwiches to shame. 

*There's also a large dining room. Sorry for the quality of the photos. The lighting is awesome for book browsing...not for photo taking. 

And lest anyone think this is just a store for ladies, I've seen a ton of men there, and there's all this: 

Unfortunately this has never happened to me: 

*There's a man staring at you in Personal Growth. 

My roommate had never seen When Harry Met Sally...btw, so I may have recreated this scene at RP Tracks one day: 


More bargain books inside!

*A puzzle of my favorite Escher piece. My mom HATES puzzles - Xmas gift? 

They also have seasonal stuff, like this guy:

And some nice artisan sauces: 

AND THESE! Yes, I have pink flamingos, and I love them. Someday I will have a yard to put them in. 

There's also a whole section of cards, stationary, planners, little notes, and cute stuff like this:

If I ever get engaged, I need someone to buy me this card:

Over in this area there's also the Orpheum Box Office. I am far too lazy/busy to drive downtown to buy tickets for things like summer movies, so it's really nice to have the option to get them at Laurelwood. 

A nice music and movies section - things are a little pricey, but they usually have a ton of stuff on sale. 

*Kirby and I went to see this movie. I'm pretty sure it's at least 50 hours long. I felt like we were in that episode of True Blood where Sookie goes to Fairy for 30 minutes but it's a year in the real world. Except the opposite of that. 

But good lord Ryan Gosling is pretty. 

Overall, I think The Booksellers at Laurelwood is a local gem. It's got a lot of cool stuff, reasonable prices, a great members program, good food, and is in a nice, easy to access shopping center in the center of town. In the same center there's a Fleet Feet, a Panera, Dinstuhl's, and a ton of other retail and service shops.

Plus, who doesn't love the combo of books + cute stuff + shopping local?


  1. So I totally still call this place "Davis Kidd," but I LOVE it!

    1. Ha I do too! I tried to tell someone where it was the other day and I'm pretty sure I just confused them since I couldn't decide on a name!