Featured Indie Bookstore: Bookends on Main | Menomonie, Wisconsin

Tell us a little about Bookends on Main.

BE: Owning a bookstore is a dream/fantasy of many people, and matching the dream with the financial resources and interest in running a business are sort of rare. Bookends on Main was founded by a retired college professor, and when she re-retired – along with my background as a retired English professor with a pension and social security – made it entirely feasible.  It’s been a wonderful 12 years for me, and now at age 79, I mostly believe I will carry on so long as body and mind permit.

Was a bookstore a major need in your area? 

BE: Every town needs and wants a bookstore. Our town has always had one, sometimes two, but mostly they haven’t lasted long. After our university bookstore basically stopped selling books, the need for both local and university readers to have a bookstore in town is real.  I am constantly being reminded “We are so glad you are here!”

What kind of reading trends do you see with your customers?

BE: The bookstore serves two major audiences. First are the people who like buying books locally, and being able to buy books for gifts, especially for children and grandchildren. My inventory is “general interest,” meaning a little of numerous categories.  Adult and YA fiction are the biggest sellers followed by children’s books, mainly board books and picture books.  About half my inventory is used books, fiction being the main interest. University students are attracted to philosophy and literary classics.

A trend—for some people, rebellion against Amazon.

What other services/products do you provide for your customers?

BE: We also sell the usual journals, greeting cards, puzzles and small gift items. I added guitar strings, guitars (one or two at a time), ukuleles and assorted music accessories.

What do you like the most about owning/managing/working in an indie bookstore?

BE: The bookstore allows me to lead a productive life, meet and talk to people every day and fulfill a community service.  My two favorite compliments are “We’re so glad you are here” and “Your store looks really nice.” 

What is the importance of keeping indie bookstores thriving?

BE: Indie bookstores reflect the locality and reflect the uniqueness of each area. They complement big box stores.

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Article originally Published in the June / July 2021 Issue: Futuristic

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