In the town where I grew up, there were two places to explore reading: a small, unassuming shop where I bought Agatha Christie mysteries and MAD magazines, and a Carnegie library with a beautiful courtyard and majestic entrance with pillars so wide I couldn’t get my arms around them. It was in these spaces I first began to appreciate how these places were able to spark the power of being transported by reading.
“All readers …will recall the actual spot, the actual physical surroundings, where they first read the books that have affected them the most.”
—John Cowper Powys
Later, I found that when I travelled, I gravitated toward the bookstores in new and unfamiliar places—it was in Dark Carnival in Berkeley that I first discovered Edward Gorey and in a ramshackle bookshop in Spain where I was introduced to Borges, and later a tiny crammed bookstore near Portobello Road where I somehow stumbled upon a copy of Baudelaire.
After college, I got my first job in publishing—my dream job writing book jacket copy and press releases, and occasionally making book title recommendations. I felt grateful to be working with authors and independent booksellers. Publishing is a fun and unique industry—and independent bookstores are the magical places where reading, discovery, and community happen.
With every dollar we spend we contribute to the world we want to see, and what matters to me is the presence of our independent bookstores in our community. And if they matter to you too, I invite you to join us at LOAKL as we make it more convenient to find books locally from independent bookstores.
Thank you for visiting our site, and I hope you’ll help us spread the word! We welcome your feedback, as always.
Hannah Onstad, Co-Founder