The Magic of Indie Bookstores

I recently did a joint book signing with Ellen Byron at an indie bookstore, Mystery Ink. They have a new location which faces a main street in Huntington Beach. I hope a lot of customers spot the store and drop by. It’s a cozy space with great books for readers—and, of course, signed copies from local authors.

Indie bookstores, I believe, are magical. The first bookshop I ever visited carried children’s books, and the owner was delightful. I was a kid on the hunt for something enticing and new to read. She suggested that I try Matilda. I got hooked and continued coming back to the store—which was very frequent since my parents owned a restaurant in the same plaza. When the children’s bookstore finally closed down, a wave of sorrow washed over me.

Indie bookstore owners have always been kind to me and quick to recommend a good read. I’ve been to smaller and larger stores in various regions, but I want to highlight a few of the local ones in the Los Angeles area that I’ve enjoyed:

Vroman’s  Bookstore in Pasadena is amazing. I mean, how could it not be when the store has its own Walk of Fame dedicated to authors? It also has a really extensive collection of books. I was tickled pink to find my mysteries shelved alongside Agatha Christie’s works (hurrah for my “C” last name!). I got to sign stock there and purchased gifts for friends.

{pages} in Manhattan Beach is a lovely shop. The owners were so accommodating when I hosted a book launch for my debut novel (women’s fiction about a Taiwanese-American family with many secrets): The 228 Legacy. I was able to have a wonderful party, complete with yummy treats.

The Ripped Bodice (what a name!) in Culver City has a spectacular layout. I particularly love the books hanging down from the ceiling. The co-author event I did with Deanna Raybourn was a lot of fun. Given the title of the store, it’s no wonder that they carry many romantic reads; my Sassy Cat Mysteries actually have a slight touch of romance to them as well.

I’ve also been to Filipina-owned Bel Canto Books in Long Beach. The bookstore is housed in a shared space with other shops; the whole place offers a fresh vibe on what shopping and shopkeeping should be like. And the connected outdoor space is just gorgeous!

The reason I love indie bookstores is that everyone is always so warm and inviting. Plus, each shop has a distinct vibe. It’s like discovering multiple friends whenever I find a new bookstore—because not only do I get to meet the people who work there, but I get to know the bookstore with its unique personality.  

What are some of your favorite indie bookstores?

Twofer Tuesday
Happy Book Birthday to Me!


  1. So fun! love it!

Leave a Reply to Jennifer Chow Cancel reply


%d bloggers like this: