Independent bookstores in Maine can survive with community support

By Ramona du Houx
An independent bookstore is a special place—it’s where readers go to discover new books, chat with friends in town, and meet favorite authors. Last year was a challenging year for local bookstores. Bath Book Shop and Reading Corner Bookstore in Rockland are closing in 2015, and Maine Coast Book Shop in Damariscotta is for sale. All are staples, community centers in their towns.

Thankfully, there is good news for some locations. The Bath Book Shop is being replaced by another book store called The Mustard Seed.

The Mustard Seed will not only feature books, but will also include a cafe with tea and treats. Owners Julie and Michael Shea plan to open the new business on February 16. in 2015.

The Children’s Book Celler in Waterville received a grant in 2014 to renovate portions of the building.

More locations are holding book signings. The Constellation Gallery, run by the Maine Artist Collective (MAC), hosted such events last year. Unfortunately, the gallery is being forced to move from 511 Congress Street because the landlord found a more profitable tenant.

The Portland Library, at Monument Square holds book-signings nearly every day. And Longfellow’s and Shermans bookstores, nearby, do the same.

More and more bookstores across the country are putting in cafes, and hosting bands. Art avenues are doing the same. The MAC idea of hosting book-signings as well has taken off in some cities, like Providence, RI. It can in Maine, too.

While there are obstacles to surmount in order to get great books and art to Mainers their creative community nature is persevering with the support of people who love the humanities.

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