New Year's Resolution: Support Independent Bookstores

We here at Black Lawrence Press are beginning 2010 with renewed determination to support small, local bookstores around the country. In a changing literary atmosphere, it’s important to embrace the technology that makes sales and distribution easier, but also to protect the unique character and labor of love that are the hallmarks of small, independently owned bookstores. Plus, as an independent press, we understand how important it is to promote emerging and experimental writers.

Starting this month, we’ve decided to highlight an independent bookseller each week on the blog. The staff at Black Lawrence Press is dedicated to doing our part to make the coming decade a success for those of us dedicated to independent book publishing.

Be sure to check the Black Lawrence Press blog every week for our featured small bookstore of the week. For every bookstore that we feature, we will include information about how to purchase books from the store, either by going to the store’s website or calling one of the friendly salespeople to place a phone order. Also, many of the stores that we have lined up for this project will offer discounts to folks who read about them on our blog. Our posts will include coupon codes and discount information. This means that you will be able to save money while supporting local book shops around the country.

We are excited to begin this effort by featuring Burke’s Book Store in Memphis, Tennessee. Burke’s Book Store, which has survived the depression and two World Wars, was begun in 1875 as a family business and stayed that way for 3 generations. In 2000, husband and wife, Corey and Cheryl Mesler, who met in the store, and after working there for over a decade, bought Burke’s.

Burke’s continues to offer newly published titles, as well as new fiction, southern literature, Memphis history, and paperback classics. In the last 25 years it has played host to a wide range of writers, honored scriveners of the modern, plumbers of the collective unconscious, including John Grisham, Richard Ford, Ann Beattie, Anne Rice, Bobbie Ann Mason, Kaye Gibbons, Peter Guralnick, Peter Carey, Lee Smith, Ralph Abernathy, Archie Manning, Rick Barthelme, Charles Baxter, Robert Olen Butler, Bill Wyman, and many others. Today, muddling toward the future, the Meslers keep the old flame burning, still cognizant of their role in the community, re-energizing the store’s once semi-active publishing arm, still remembering the signed W. C. Handy autobiography, the book bound in skin, the first edition Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It’s a heady business, a calling, a place of sympathetic magic.

To support Burke’s Book Store, shop their online store at

For a 10% discount on your order, write “Since 1875” in the section of the order form marked “Special Instructions.” (Note: the 10% won’t show up on your computer screen, but will be adjusted when your is processed.)