Sunday, May 10, 2009

MILESTONE BOOKS Goes the Distance

By: Irene Latham, Shrinking Violet Field Reporter

Tucked in Vestavia City Center, just outside the city of Birmingham, Alabama, Milestone Books has been an integral part of the community for the past five years.  Owner Linda Brown (pictured below) credits her husband.  “He is much more entrepreneurial,” she said.  “I’m just the bibliophile.  We’re the type couple who would go out to dinner then go to the bookstore instead of going to the movie.”  And the city of Birmingham has come to love this family-oriented bookstore for it’s strong children’s section and knowledgeable staff. 

An extrovert herself, Brown finds meeting the needs of introverted booklovers a personal challenge.  “Most of my employees are introverted and approaching customers [who are often also introverted] doesn‘t always come easily,” Brown said.  “So we include ways to communicate without being intrusive, like posting recommendation notes and author quotes on the bookshelves.”

Brown enjoys being known as the Book Lady and is proud of the sense of place Milestone Books has earned in the community.  She also especially enjoys the Mother-Daughter and Father-Son Book Clubs.  And because she got her love of reading from her mother, she is eager to pass that enthusiasm along to others.  Which is why she keeps two baskets stocked with free books.

“I don’t think we have to worry about the extinction of the written word,” Brown said.  “Even with the popularity of Kindle, I believe there’s enough kids out there who still want to turn the page.”  She encourages authors to continue to support Independent Bookstores first and foremost by their presence, and  also by continuing to mention them on their blogs and in interviews with the media.

If you happen to be in the Alabama Saturday, June 13, stop by Milestone Books for Summer Reading Wave!  Children’s authors Hester Bass, Tony Crunk, Faye Gibbons, Jo Kittinger, Peter Huggins, R. A. Nelson and Bob Whetstone will be signing books and doing fun activities from 1 - 4 pm.  Shop Independent!

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IRENE LATHAM is a poet and novelist who writes heart-touching tales of unexpected adventure.  She and her husband have spent many a date night in a bookstore, and she is a big fan of little notes attached to bookshelves.  Her debut midgrade historical LEAVING GEE'S BEND will be released by G.P. Putnam's Sons in January, 2010.

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tanita✿davis said...

Man, another HUGE indie - where do you find these things?!

Mary Hershey said...

Irene, thanks for this marvelous profile! Milestone Books and the Browns sound like they are not-to-be-missed! Love the Free Books bin! ;-)

And, hey, everyone, don't forget to put a link in your blog to this profile so that you can be entered into the drawing for the $100.00 Indie Bound gift certificate!


Irene Latham said...

Thanks Mary and Robin! Consider yourself linked at

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

It's so refreshing to hear about an independent bookstore that's making it. I'll definitely stop in if I'm ever in the area.

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Sherrie Petersen said...

Free books in a bookstore? How cool is that! I want to go there if I'm ever in Birmingham :)

Becky said...

How fun! I love books and in fact am getting ready to finish "Cornfield Heiress" by Errollynne Peters in just a few minutes.... I would love to go to this bookstore to find some great Indie books too.

Anonymous said...

How cool is it that they have tailored some of their marketing specifically to introverts?!

trav said...

This is a wonderful post on a great bookstore. The Birmingham area and bookscene is soooo much better and well-rounded since Milestone Books opened.

It's one of my faves!


Anonymous said...

I LOVE Milestone books. The staff is so knowledgeable and Linda is especially wonderful. AND there is a Panera next store, so after you buy a book, you can pick up a blueberry bagel. Holla!

Lindsey Leavitt

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