About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Turning Over a New Bay Leaf

Bay Leaf Books
79 State Rd. (M-37)
Newaygo, MI 49337
(231) 652-BOOK (2665)

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that a bookstore I featured a couple of years ago has closed its doors. Bay Leaf Books in Sand Lake, Michigan, is no more. The good news is that Bay Leaf has moved to the nearby town of Newaygo, with the same quality offerings, the same great customer service, and the same knowledgable owner, Gabe Konrad. So what's different about the new location? About 400 square feet. That's how much larger the new store is. Gabe is happy to finally have enough space to provide chairs for customers to sit and relax while browsing a title or two. There's a table as well, and of course, a lot more room for books. The new location is spacious, bright, and inviting.

Gabe says that for the past couple of years, he had been looking for a larger space, having outgrown the old building in Sand Lake. One day his wife saw a "For Rent" sign on a building in the much larger town of Newaygo, so when Gabe was in town across the street having lunch with fellow bookstore owner and friend, John Rau (see Mecosta Book Gallery), he decided to go have a look. A new Bay Leaf Books was born.

Gabe's Sand Lake customers were sorry to see him leave. Sand Lake's loss is definitely Newaygo's gain. Fortunately, though, the new location is only about a half hour drive from Sand Lake, and many of Gabe's old customers have come in to see the new store and wish him well.

Much of the old store lives on in the new space. The great selection, the abundance of used books in like-new condition, and even the punch card bonus system are still a part of the new store. The large children's section is even bigger and just as inviting, once again featuring a variety of picture books, books for young readers, stuffed animals, games, and currently a Madeline dollhouse. Not surprisingly, the young adult section has increased in size as well. I was gratified also to see that Gabe's unique non-book items like crystals and fossils have found a home in the new store.

In addition to used books, Bay Leaf does offer some new titles at discounted prices. I found a new, hardcover copy of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl for only $14. This is a title I have been meaning to purchase for quite some time, and I was happy to get such a bargain. I also spotted a signed, hardcover copy of State of Wonder at a bargain price. I admire the author, Ann Patchett (See My Favorites and McLean & Eakin), so I didn't have to think long about purchasing this signed copy.

Gabe's great customer service includes book searches, so I immediately put him to work on a hunt for one of my favorite novels, An American Summer by Frank Deford (See My Favorites), a title now out of print and difficult to find. Since my visit, Gabe has also located a unique, hard-to-find item that I will not name as it will become a gift for a special someone.

If the traffic in the store at the time of my visit is any indication, Bay Leaf's success in the new location is assured. This store provides a shining example of how in this time of ebooks, quality bookstores and personal service are still important, and print media is still popular. 

Keep up the good work, Gabe. Best wishes and good luck to the new Bay Leaf Books.

1 comment:

Missy Rogers said...

We are very happy to have them here in Newaygo. I was surprised at the great selection and prices when I walked in there. My son can not wait for the Jonathan Rand book signing. :)