Home > Just for fun > Indie Bookstores: Violet’s Book Exchange (Claremont, NH)

Indie Bookstores: Violet’s Book Exchange (Claremont, NH)

Since I am known for meandering into any indie bookstore that I happen across, I thought it might be fun to highlight ones that I visit on my blog.  Obviously this will be a totally random recurring post.

As you all know, this weekend I was in Vermont (right on the border of New Hampshire) visiting my family.  My dad, knowing my perpetual love of books, suggested we stop in one of only two indie bookstores in driving distance of them–Violet’s Book Exchange located in Claremont, New Hampshire.

I had been there before, but not for a while.  When she started the business, Violet had a few bookshelves and an excellent store credit for books policy.  To my recollection, she didn’t have any new books.  Now she has two floors, a children’s room, and a wonderful mix of used and fairly priced used books.  She also features arts and crafts handmade by local people on one shelf, which is an excellent way for an indie bookstore to be connected to their community.

It’s not really surprising to me that this bookstore has taken off, as the library situation in that area of Vermont/New Hampshire is dire.  There is one medium-sized, up-to-date library located in Claremont, but most of the people in the area do not live within the district that would give them access to free library cards.  This is a predominantly poor, working class area of VT/NH, and most of the people can’t afford the exhorbitant library fee.  With often bad, still *wired* internet access, there is little to do.  Violet’s cheap used and new books with an excellent rate on books you yourself bring in for store credit really helps to fill that gap.  Violet clearly has business acumen, and I salute her for filling a much-desired need in the area.

While I was there, my dad picked up a cookbook (which I would totally provide a cover image for if I could remember what it was), and a book for me.  I present to you: The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story by Lemony Snicket.  Seriously, what better Chrismukkah title is there than a Christmas story about a latke?  None that I can think of.  Also, it was only $7.50 for a brand-new hardcover book.  People, this is amazing.

To top it all off, the clerk asked us if we had any store credit.  I honestly answered that I used to, but I had thrown away the card after moving permanently to Boston.  (Yes, I should have given it to my brother, but I was being dumb and didn’t think of that).  Anyway, apparently in the meantime they’d computerized and lo and behold she found my store credit and we got to use it.  I was seriously impressed at this level of organization.

If you can visit Violet’s Book Exchange in person, I highly recommend it.  If you can’t, you can at least check out their website where you can get books shipped to you.  I encourage you to consider it, because this bookstore is vital for these small towns.

  1. December 15, 2009 at 6:19 am

    This shop sounds amazing, may be a bit far to travel to for me in England though 🙂 There used to be a similar shop where my Mom lives in Hampshire but the lady that owned it died and the family didn’t keep the business which was really sad. I used to love a good book rummage there.

    • December 15, 2009 at 8:56 am

      Hah, yeah New England is a bit far for you to go for a bookstore! I’m just glad it’s around for the locals though.

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