Adventures in Bookstores ~ Outside the Margins with Jeff Adams

Join Prism Book Alliance® as Jeff Adams goes Outside the Margins today.


Back in my March 2016 Outside the Margins, I wrote about finding books in bookstores and how much I liked that discovery process.

I’ve been in two bookstores recently that I’ve longed to check out. Both were well worth the visit.

Sisters Bea and Leah Koch opened The Ripped Bodice bookstore in Culver City, California, in March 2016. It’s the only all-romance bookstore in the U.S. and it’s amazing. I finally paid them a visit during a SoCal trip in August and I was blown away. The store is warm, bright, comfortable and stuffed with every kind of romance under the sun. They’ve split the store into four large genres—contemporary, historical, paranormal and erotica—plus there are categories for YA and LGBTQ as well as a large selection of used books. It’s romance nirvana.

On my first visit, I soaked up the ambiance of the store and perused the LGBTQ section, which is the largest I’ve seen outside of a gay specific bookstore. I also talked with Bea and in no time I saw her passion for books, and specifically for romance. I went back four weeks later and interviewed the sisters for a segment on Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast. Their love for what they do exudes through every part of the interview.

In a time where you wouldn’t think it wise to open a bookstore—after all, the usual message is that physical bookstores are dying–the sisters have marched forth. The sisters said they have customers who come in and say that they can mark something off their bucket list. They’re also growing community right there in Culver City with a devoted fan base that attends book club meetings and events. I can’t imagine why anyone who is a fan of romance wouldn’t want to flock to this store.

For our corner of the romance world, they are just as passionate about it. For September, the book club was featuring the lesbian romance Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler. They’ve also hosted a number of LGBTQ romance auhtors, including an event that went viral via Facebook Live with Christopher Rice,  Eric Shaw Quinn and Damon Suede.

So, if you’re in the Los Angeles area and you love romance books, make sure you get to Culver City and check out the Ripped Bodice. You’ll be so glad you did. I know it’ll be a place I always visit when I’m in the area.

The other bookstore I’ve been to in the past few days is the Amazon Books store in Seattle. Will and I were in town for the Gay Romance Northwest Meet Up and since we were nearby, it was a go-to spot because I’ve been fascinated by the concept of a physical Amazon store since it was announced in late 2015.

The Seattle store, located in University Village, is not a huge store. I expected it to be the size of a Barnes & Noble, which in my experiences are fairly large. The Amazon store was a fraction of a Barnes and Noble, even though it held a fair number of books as well as the full array of Amazon electronics—like Echo and Alexa gadgets as well as Fire tablets.

The store was pleasantly laid out and featured all of the categories I expected. The inventory is more limited though because all the books are face out so there’s no reading spines. In addition, there’s are categories that for highly rated books either from Amazon or Goodreads. The “if you like this, then you’ll like…” designation also gets a fair bit of shelf space throughout the genres. It’s a nice way to bring the Amazon virtual experience into the physical world.

It was a very comfortable place, with friendly employees. More than one asked me if I was finding everything I wanted. Pricing in the store is interesting as Prime members pay current prices but others pay regular retail. Checking out is a breeze using the Amazon app. Simply scan a QR code at the register and then you can choose the credit card to pay with from the ones attached to your account. All that’s left is to show your phone to the cashier who scans it to compete purchase.

I had a blast here and will shop Amazon stores again. No, it’s not the widest selection of books I’ve ever seen in a store, but if best sellers and highly-reviewed books are what you’re looking for, this is a good store. As you can imagine, they also don’t get upset if you scan a book into your Amazon wish list, which I did a couple of times so I could later purchase as an ebook or audiobook.

The Seattle store’s been successful enough that one has opened in San Diego with a few more locations planned in the coming months. It’ll be interesting to see how many store fronts Amazon grows into. In the meantime, if you’re near one I recommend checking it out to add to your book buying experience.

~Jeff Adams

About Jeff Adams

Jeff Adams is the author of the Hat Trick series of young adult/new adult stories. He’s also the author of several m/m romance shorts. Jeff and his husband, Will, live in the rural peace of Northern California. Besides writing about hockey in many of his stories, he covers the Detroit Red Wings, and reviews books that feature gay hockey players, for ( You can learn all about Jeff’s writing at ( You can also follow him on Twitter @hockeyguynyc and sign up for his email list ( to get the latest updates.

Comment Contest
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
This post may contain affiliate links.
Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews.  The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.

Leave a Reply