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The story continues for a beloved bookstore

Sep 01, 2014 04:57PM, Published by Kerigan Butt, Categories: Arts+Entertainment, Business


The Chester County Book Company in the West Goshen Center is a beloved bookstore for many readers and writers in the area.




(Editor's note: This article first appeared in our Fall 2014 issue)

By Steven Hoffman
Staff Writer
For readers and writers in the area, there is no place quite like the Chester County Book Company, a beloved independent bookstore that has held a special place in the hearts of literary types for more than three decades.
“The Chester County Book Company has been a great part of the community for years,” said author Bruce Mowday, who has done numerous book signings at the bookstore in the West Goshen Center.
In the first chapter of its existence, the Chester County Book Company was a 1,000 square-foot store. From the very beginning, the store built its reputation on a knowledgeable staff of voracious readers who could provide unparalleled service to the customer.
Over the years, as independent bookstores found it harder and harder to compete against chain bookstores, the Chester County Book Company defied the trend and grew to 28,000 square feet of space, making it one of the largest independently owned bookstores in the U.S.
At its peak, the store stocked approximately 125,000 titles and over 1,500 magazines and periodicals. A music department was added in 1996 and there were over 25,000 recordings of pop, rock, classical, rap, R&B, country, jazz, blues, and world music. The DVD inventory featured 5,000 movie, television, and music titles.
In 2013, the Chester County Book Company relocated to a smaller space in the West Goshen Center. All the best attributes of the store were retained.
When the Chester County Book Company opened in its new location last year, Mowday was the first author to do a signing.
“The book store is a very special place and offers authors a chance to talk about their books with readers,” said Mowday. “This is a special experience for authors. With book stores becoming almost extinct, the Chester County Book Company is surviving and thriving, and I hope they do so for many, many years. The store enriches all of us.”
The Chester County Book Company has been tremendously supportive of local authors, and it has also been able to arrange author talks and book signings that connect authors with the book-buying public.
Local author John Dixon said that the bookstore is one of his favorite places in the area.
“For twenty years, the Chester County Book Company has been a huge part of my life, supplying books, reading recommendations, and exciting opportunities to meet visiting authors,” he explained.
Dixon credited the Chester County Book Company with helping the launch of his debut novel, “Phoenix Island,” earlier this year.
“My debut novel, 'Phoenix Island,' was slated to release on January 7, 2014, the same day as the premiere of “Intelligence,” the CBS TV series it had inspired, so I had to be in New York for the publisher’s official book launch and viewing party. As the big day approached, I was of course excited, but I was bummed, too. I’d really wanted to share this milestone moment with local friends and family. Knowing this, the Chester County Book Company came to my rescue, helping me to arrange an unbelievable launch party at the Chester County Historical Society on January 5, two days before the 'real' launch.
“Working with Simon & Schuster, the Chester County Book Company secured copies of “Phoenix Island” before it was even officially on sale, brought them to the event, and handled the sales – and pre-orders, once the copies had sold out – freeing me to sign books and thank the three hundred or so awesome people who showed up. The launch party was fantastic, one of the best experiences of my entire life, and it couldn’t have happened without the Chester County Book Company.”
There are a series of events scheduled at the bookstore in the next few months. On Thursday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m., three-time Macavity Award winner Deborah Crombie will sign copies of “To Dwell in Darkness,” her latest novel featuring Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James.
On Friday, Oct. 24, customers will have the opportunity to pick up some great ideas for the holiday gift lists during Rep-tober Fest. Representatives from major book publishers like HarperCollins, Norton, Penguin, Random House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster will talk about the upcoming hot releases for the holiday season. The event lasts from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and light refreshments will be served.
Diane Muldrow will be signing copies of her latest book, “Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned From a Little Golden Book,” on Wednesday, Nov.12 at 7 p.m.
The next night, Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., Lev Golinkin will be signing copies of “A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka.”
Garth Stein, the bestselling author of “The Art of Racing in the Rain” will be signing copies of his newest release, “A Sudden Light” on Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.
Signed books always make great gifts so on Saturday, Dec. 13, the Chester County Book Company is hosting its annual multi-author book-signing event. The first grouping of authors will be signing copies of their books from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. That group includes Jim Breslin (signing his novel “Shoplandia”), Jen Bryant (“The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus”), Catherine Quillman (a local historian signing two African American historic tour books in West Chester: “Walking the 'Uptown'” and “Walking the East End), Gene Pisasale (“American Revolution to Fine Art: Brandywine Valley Reflections), and Tiffany Beveridge (humor book-- “How To Quinoa: Life Lessons from My Imaginary Well-Dressed Daughter”). The second shift, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., includes Ray Didinger (“The New Eagles Encyclopedia”) and Artie Bennett (the children's book “Belches, Burps, and Farts...Oh My!”). More writers will be added for this event in the coming weeks.
The Chester County Book Company is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email editor@chestercounty.com.

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