Today, on our blog, we’re excited to feature Alexa of Beach Books. If you’ve read our quarterly member newsletter, you’d know that we love interviewing booksellers.
Please tell us about Beach Books!
While attending Wordstock, the wonderful Portland book festival, in the Spring of 2005, Karen Emmerling realized the world she should have spent the previous 35 years working in – the world of books. So, after a lot of reading, even more soul-searching and with both children off to college, when a cozy location was being renovated on a convenient side street in downtown Seaside, she jumped in with both feet. After 7 years as the “bookstore around the corner”, Beach Books outgrew the space. When the ideal location on the most prominent corner in Seaside became available, Beach Books expanded to where they are today.
Beach Books has an active (and fantastic) Instagram account. Do you have any social media tips for authors?
When authors interact with our social media posts, it really helps! Booksellers take the time to photograph the book and search out the authors (and their tags) on social media to show them support. When an author is appreciative, it makes all the difference. It makes us want to hand sell that title even more. We strongly despise authors linking ANYTHING to amazon. Every day we battle the behemoth which is a real bummer when an author does not understand what independent bookstores can do with their books. When visiting an indie bookstore, be sure to see if your books is on the shelf. If it is, tag us and post about it on your social media account. We love seeing tagged posts inside the store. If you have swag to give out, that’s a bonus. Everyone loves bookish swag!
Given your location in Seaside, Oregon does your clientele tend to be locals, tourists, or a mix of both?
It mostly depends on the time of year. We have such a wonderful local following that helps us year-round. The last few years we’ve cultivated some amazing online relationships that support us from all around the country. Social media has allowed us to connect to so many new authors and friends. We’ve even shipped books to Puerto Rico! Families visit us once, follow us online, and a lasting relationship ensues.
How do you choose the books stocked in Beach Books?
As a smaller store—even though we’d love to stock everything—we simply cannot. Every day we order books, we do so with our customers in mind. We’ve been at it long enough to generally have a good idea what will be a strong fit in our shelves. Let’s be honest, we sometimes order too much of a title and then we must get creative but that’s one aspect of our jobs we love. We also have some of the best book reps to talk to about ordering as well.
What do you wish authors knew about bookstores?
Independent bookstores are a safe place in any town/city. Book people are some of the absolute kindest and most welcoming. When you come into the store, please chat with us! We love hearing about your favorite books or your own book, but once you mention it being a bestseller on Amazon, we lose interest quickly. We desire for authors to recognize the detriment Amazon has done to small businesses and especially independent bookstores.
What are some of your staff’s favorite mystery novels?
At Beach Books we love a good mystery. Some of our absolute favorite authors include: Louise Penny, Emmeline Duncan, Ellie Alexander and Elly Griffiths. Additionally, we do not think you can go wrong enjoying a Chief Inspector Gamache novel plus cozy mysteries are great beach reads. Truth be told, we are hoping the store makes a cameo in a cozy mystery one day!
Is there anything you’d like to add?
We also offer audiobooks! Libro.Fm is a wonderful company based out of Seattle that offers audiobooks at competitive prices. The very best part of Libro.Fm is you are able to choose the independent bookstore to purchase from. The customer support Libro.Fm offers is top of the line—nothing is too silly to ask them. Of note, we have even had people come in the store and hand us their phone to download and set the app up!
What’s the best way to follow Beach Books?
The best way to keep up with Beach Books is to follow our social media pages:
Please sign up for our newsletter where we give monthly staff book recommendations and announce any upcoming exciting news. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list or feel free to give us a call at the store (503)-738-3500.
Alexa is the manager of Beach Books where she has worked since high school (‘07). One of her many duties includes serving as the store’s social media manager. Daily she acknowledges how lucky she is to work alongside Karen (her book mom) for the last 14 years. Together, through a shared passion for books, they have seen the business grow while learning many things from each other. She’s the product of a slight obsession with the Scholastic book fair as a child. Alexa enjoys traveling to bookseller conferences to be with her book tribe where she enjoys her frequent encounters with new people in this realm. She currently sits on the American Booksellers Association Bookseller Advisory Board and is the Chairwoman of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Awards Committee.