To put it mildly, the Shenandoah Valley is no literary paradise. Not that it doesn’t make an attractive setting for fiction (at least I hope it’s attractive, as many of my stories are set here), but booklovers have a hard time of it. Not counting Books-a-Million in the Colonial Mall in Staunton, which, if it weren’t the only place reasonably close to get the New York Times on Sunday I would never enter, our only local book store is a friendly little place on the corner
The Bookstack. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that it exists, right in the heart of downtown, and I do my best to support it, and I enjoy loitering there chatting with the owner about books and writing, but it doesn’t have a classic bookstore feel to me--browing opportunities are minimal as inventory is kept low. It appears that we’re about to get our first full-fledged used bookstore, also. Final Draft Books is set to open later this month, which I’m looking forward to. Apart from having stacks of musty old books to thumb through, they'll be buying books for store credit, which I hope will help me lighten the load on my bookshelves.
To the north, there is a Barnes & Noble in a strip mall just outside of Harrisonburg (30 miles away) and I do go there sometimes. I can’t help myself. But I spend much more time at the Green Valley Book Fair in Mt. Crawford (just south of Harrisonburg), which is an amazing place, open six times a year for a couple of weeks and filled (we're talking a huge space) with great remainder deals. To the east (not counting Waynesboro, which has its own small independent bookseller), we have Charlottesville, home to a large but shrinking number of bookstores, mostly used, although I like to browse and buy at New Dominion Bookshop on the pedestrian mall downtown. (On the Westside of town there is another Barnes & Noble and I confess to stopping in there from time to time, also.)
Today I explored books in Lexington, 25 miles to my south. There we have Books & Co., a very nice, relatively spacious, independent new book store, and also The Bookery, a cramped and confusing, but friendly, used bookstore that seemed to have a number of full-price new books on the shelves as well.
On second thought, I'm not sure I need any more book stores; I certainly don't need any more books.