Please tell us about Roundabout Books! What makes running a store in Bend, Oregon, unique?
I opened Roundabout Books as a brand new independent bookstore in 2016. We sell new books for all ages and genres. Our children’s section is about a third of the store and serves the families of our surrounding neighborhoods. Our adult section includes a large fiction and nonfiction section, a local author section featuring local writers and interests, and we carry lots of gifts including cards, puzzles, pens and pencils, and other reading accessories. The shop has a small café, which serves locally roasted espresso, locally made tea and pastries. We host several book clubs that meet every month, as well as virtual author events.
Owning a bookshop in Bend is unique because we are such a fast growing community. There have been a lot changes a the shop over the last four years as we keep up with the pace of the growth and change our inventory to meet the needs and interests of our customers. One of the best parts of being in the bookshop every day is meeting all the new people that have recently moved to Bend!
How do you select which titles to stock in your store?
Our inventory is highly curated, and I order every single book that is in our store for a reason. I order new titles seasonally through my publisher reps after weeks of pouring over new release catalogs. I also order weekly restocks based on selling data and try to keep our most sought-after titles on the shelf. Because we are such a small shop, we also place daily special orders for everything our customers want that isn’t on our shelves.
What do you wish authors knew about bookstores?
If I were to talk to newly self-published authors I would want them to understand that independent bookstores are usually managed by one owner and a very small team, and everyone has a huge amount to do and not a lot space or time to do it. Whatever process the bookstore has laid out for book submissions, please take the time find it and then follow the process. Also, keep in mind that shelf space can be limited, so if they don’t take the book into their shop right away, it doesn’t mean they don’t like it. It might just be a logistical issue at the time.
What do you think are the key factors in a successful author event?
Most importantly, an author shouldn’t rely on a bookstore audience to fill the event. The authors have to do as much or more as the bookstore to bring their readers to the shop or the online event. The best events are when the author does more than just read from the book. Come with talking points on your background, what inspired your story, your writing process, and anything else that will inspire questions from the audience.
When you look at the best-selling books in your store, what do the books have in common?
Our bestselling books tend to be well-known nonfiction and literary fiction, as well as books popular with our book clubs. Last year our bestsellers were Caste by Isabell Wilkerson, Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, White Fragility by Robin Diangelo, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman.
What’s the best way for readers and writers to keep up with the happenings at Roundabout books?
The best way to know what’s going on in the shop is to subscribe to our monthly newsletter here: https://www.roundaboutbookshop.com/. Also, follow our social media on Insta @roundaboutbooks or FB @roundaboutbookshop.
About Cassie Clemans:
Cassie Clemans was a high school science teacher in Arizona before moving to Bend in 2011 with her husband and three kids. In 2016 she decided to open Roundabout Books, a new independent bookstore in Bend’s NorthWest Crossing neighborhood. When she’s not reading, Cassie loves traveling the National Parks every summer with her family. They have a goal to explore all 62n National Parks before the kids graduate from high school.