Before we arrived here in Newport, Tennessee, I made a plan to visit some of the cities and towns surrounding the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to peddle books.
On Friday, we visited Southland Books in Maryville. Lisa Misosky was very pleasant and thought the book would sell well. She paid me for five books and I left five more on consignment. Then we headed to Knoxville, Tennessee. I had a list of maybe ten book stores. Several had closed. One seems to have been non-existent for quite a while. The business at that address had been there several years.
There is one store, McKay’s, the likes of which I have never seen before. The large parking lot was nearly full. People were entering the store with full bags. We could not figure out what was going on so I asked one of the three cashiers, who was not busy at that moment. They buy, sell, and trade books, comics, records, tapes, CDs, games, musical instrument, and a whole list more. People were lining up to pay for their armloads of books they were taking home. I did see on their website that they will provide authors with a room and publicity for a reading, talk, etc. event. The author can sell their books to the audience and keep all the money. I’ll take them up on that offer in the future!
Union Ave Books downtown is a classic bookstore. It is small so they only took three books on consignment. It was a lot of driving, but I was happy to get the book in both towns.
On Saturday we tried our luck in Gatlinburg, which is one of the park’s entrance towns, adjacent to the park. The town always seems to be crowded with cars and pedestrians. We parked in a parking garage and walked up and down the street. Several of the stores on my list were not there. The Day Hiker is a tiny shop in an attractive mall, but the only person in the shop had no authority to take books. She gave me the store business card to contact the owner. At the end of the day, we had placed no books in Gatlinburg.
Today we drove to Sylva, North Carolina. City Lights Bookstore is tucked just off Main Street on Jackson. When we got out of the car, I noticed that our feet were at the level of the roofs on Main Street. There were so many cars parked along the street, we thought there was some event in progress. Inside the old building, the bookstore was delightful. Eon Alden was at the register, just inside the door. He greeted us with a smile. We chatted with him between paying customers. He was happy to take five books on consignment. He also said he would like to host an author event next spring.
Andy asked where would be a good place to get lunch. Right downstairs in the City Lights Cafe. That was another great find. They had crepes on their interesting menu. We enjoyed our lunch and then headed out. I was disappointed that we missed driving all of Main Street. The small town is charming with an imposing court-house high on a hill at one end of Main Street. I hope I can walk along the street on a future visit.
We drove on to Bryson City, North Carolina. We parked the car and took a stroll along Everett Street. We turned into Appalachian Mercantile, but no one was in the store. I called into an open door in the back but got no answer. We were leaving the store when we ran into Lance Holland, who had been standing out on the sidewalk in front of the store. He took a look at Big Creek and pulled his book, Fontana, off the counter and offered to trade. We did. Then he took three books to sell in the store. Most of the merchandise is local food products. I saw a few quilts and some pottery too.
It was a long day and I am pleased to get Big Creek placed in both towns we visited.