You know what I love? Books.
So you know what that means. I love bookstores!
Central Oklahoma is pretty blessed to have not only a collection of chain bookstores, but two independents. One of those is going into the new year with new owners!
Joe Hight, along with his wife, Nan, and oldest daughter, Elena have just finished a successful first holiday season after purchasing the Edmond-based Best of Books in the fall from Julie Hovis and Kathy Kinasewitz, who owned the store for 24 years.
Joe said that Julie and Kathy had been searching for new owners for two and half years, and felt that the Hights were the right fit for the store. “Julie and Kathy have continued to work with us to ensure its future success,” he said.
Best of Books has at least 21,000 titles in the 3,100-square-foot bookstore, located in Edmond’s Kickingbird Shopping Center. One side of the bookstore is for adult titles, while the other is mainly for children’s books and educational toys.
Now, Best of Books is a long way from where I live in the sticks, but I can attest that it’s always worth the trip. I’ve gone a couple of times, when members of the Oklahoma SCBWI group have been holding book signings, and both occasions I’ve found plenty more that I need to take home with me!
I can keep up with what’s going on at Best of Books even easier now, since they’ve increased their social media presence with the new owners.
“BOB the bookstore routinely tweets about what’s happening in a bookstore’s life,” Joe said. “We also post on our Facebook page about upcoming events, like our recent ‘An Evening With Oklahoma Authors’ that featured 13 authors and ‘Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators Day’ in which they featured 10 authors and illustrators and included a 15 percent discount on all books. We plan to redesign our website early next year, too, and make other improvements to this terrific bookstore.”
A quick check to their website told me that – to my jaw-dropping excitement – that JAY ASHER will be at Best of Books on January 24, 4-6 p.m., signing copies of 13 REASONS WHY and THE FUTURE OF US!!!!
And…my kids are going to be performing in The Mikado that night. Call time 5 p.m. An hour from Best of Books. Looks like I’m going to have to figure out how to bend space again, because I do not want to miss this signing, dang!
Best of Books also recently started collaborating with Full Circle Books, OKC’s independent bookstore, to provide the Local Bestsellers List to The Oklahoman each week for its Sunday Books pages in the Life section. “We felt that it would be a good public service from the state’s two largest independent bookstores to provide the reading public through the state’s largest news organization,” Joe said. “It’ll be fun to read what the Local Bestsellers are as compared to the national lists each week.”
Best of Books recently celebrated its 30th years in business and has also just received notice that it is a finalist for the Edmond Small Business of the Year. Joe said the store also has doubled its number of customers on Small Business/Indies First Saturday for 2014 and was mentioned prominently in the national Shelf Awareness newsletter.
The Hight family has a lot of history in Oklahoma, returning after successful work around the world. Joe has been an editor or reporter for the last 34 years. He was most recently editor of The Gazette in Colorado Springs, which won the Pulitzer Price in National Reporting in 2014. “After winning the Pulitzer, I felt that the timing was right to move back to my home state of Oklahoma, where Nan still has parents and other family members here. My stepmother, sister, and brother still live in the state.”
Elena had been away from Oklahoma for seven years, most recently teaching for two years in Honduras. At 25, she is one of the youngest bookstore owners in the country. She’s the vice president and day-to-day manager of the bookstore, with Joe as president and Nan as secretary.
For more information on Best of Books, and upcoming events (including the signing with JAY ASHER, check out their website at www.bestofbooksedmond.com!
For more information on how I’m going to go to the Jay Asher signing, and also have my kids at the theater with a 5 p.m. call time a full hour away – plus be there when the curtain rises at 7 p.m. – follow my twitter, where I will cry and gnash my teeth until I figure out a solution that fulfills me both as a reader and as a fairly responsible parent.