Shop local. Eat local. Read local.
Keystone Books and Gifts is an independent (indie), community bookstore that offers primarily used books but also offers new books from local Ohio authors. A local bookstore that does not rely on what corporate wants them to do or stock but one that grows based on the needs of the community at hand…Circleville. One that is independent (often also called “indie”) that seeks to find and highlight local authors within Pickaway County and the State of Ohio. We have created a local bookstore that we want the community to be proud to be a part of. A bookstore for the Circleville community.
WHY A BOOKSTORE, WHY US?
It seems the more we move along as a society, the more people are being drawn back to our small towns, simpler times and local entertainment. People are looking for ways to slow down, take a step back and enjoy life. The problem with many places like Circleville is many of the forms of entertainment in small towns have disappeared. While we know the bookstore could never replace some of the forms of entertainment we have lost over the years, it does bring a venue for local authors, local readers and others to gather and enjoy the printed pages of a good book.
Reading has been a huge part of Lauren’s life ever since she was old enough to pick up a book. No matter where she was at – parties, the park, in the car – you could bet she would be sitting in the corner quietly reading to herself. Since becoming an adult, finding a bookstore to call her home has been a challenging process which usually sent her up to the Columbus area. She tried to read “digital” books for a while but for some reason it just wasn’t the same as picking up a real book and actually flipping the pages as she read. She does frequent the Pickaway or Fairfield County Libraries to find more variety but there is something about buying a book and having it on her bookshelf that appeals to her. So that in part is what prompted her, along with the help of her parents, to open a bookstore to Circleville and the Pickaway County area. Guess you could say she decided to make a far-away fairytale dream a reality and so was born Keystone Books and Gifts, a division of E-Quiver, Inc.
WHY THE NAME “KEYSTONE”
Coming up with a name for our bookstore that would not only describe it but fit Lauren’s personality and flow with the community was a challenge. You already knew that Lauren loved books, but she has also developed a craze for finding and collecting antique keys – specifically old skeleton keys. Since books are “doors to other worlds that we have the opportunity to unlock” we thought we would combine the two hobbies and use “key” in the name. At that point we knew that we also wanted to try to open the store in the shopping district of downtown Circleville, Ohio. The first thing we noticed about the downtown was that there are a lot of old bricks and stone there. So we decided to add a little foundation to the name by also using “stone” and boom, “Keystone Books and Gifts” was born and was launched as a division of E-Quiver, Inc.
GAMES, ARTS, CAFE and CANDY
Along with a local bookstore we also plan on having a few other small pieces that will be a part of the family and help bring more to the downtown Circleville area.
1) Newt’s Games, which used to be in downtown and is now an online publisher, will have a small selection of games and cards for the family. This section will be known as “Orange You Glad” and they will strive to find other things that make folks happy. The primary focus of this area will be games, gourds and gifts. We call them the “3Gs”.
2) Another part of our “Orange You Glad” section is the ARTS area that allows you to paint ceramic pieces as gifts or for yourself. Great for the kids or adults.
3) Keystone’s Cafe is planned in the future. Our dream is to offer specialty coffee/teas/soda for our patrons to drink while they browse the books, work on a craft or even play a game.
4) Old Fashioned Candy has been something we have wanted to do in downtown Circleville since we had Newt’s Games there. The idea is to have candy jars riddled throughout the store on bookshelves where you can choose bulk candy and then pay by piece/weight or container.
AREN’T BOOKSTORES OUTDATED?
While many national chain bookstores have closed down in the past few years, there has been a surge of “mom-n-pop” book stores opening up across the US. Even the e-readers are not gaining the steam as they once were! As one publisher puts it, “print books are selling better than they have since sales of eBooks exploded in 2010“. Their study also shows that 57% of the population prefers an old-fashioned printed book compared to the 21% that prefer the e-readers. Believe it or not, BOOKS ARE MAKING A COME BACK!
CAN A BOOKSTORE SURVIVE?
Excellent question! Truth be known we really don’t know who or what will “survive” from one decade to the next. Everything changes. Some for the better…some for the worse (depending on who you ask). What we do know is that in the past few years there has been a trend for folks who want to find “local” and buy there when they can. The truth is many have realized that what the studies are showing is true. When you spend more money in local businesses, more money stays in our local community. While different studies show different amounts, all of them show that when you buy local, more money stays local. We believe that a “locally owned and operated” bookstore like Keystone Books and Gifts is perfect for Circleville. Of course we are a little biased.
The other thing to keep in mind is over since 2014 studies have shown that trade, or physical books are still outselling their digital counterparts! Recent surveys have shown that eBooks only account for 25% of book sales. Not to mention physical book sales increased 2.4% in 2014 and 3.8% in 2015. So not only are physical books something that people still enjoy but you don’t have to worry about your battery getting ready to die right at the good part.
Shop local. Eat local. Read local.
HOW CAN YOU HELP THE STORY CONTINUE?
There are so many ways to help other than just buying. Here is a list of things you can do:
Donate gently used books: If you are looking to get rid of unwanted books this is a great way to help bring more to the community? Just drop off your gently used books at our current location.
Spread the news about our little bookstore, game and craft area! You can post the news on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more! Be sure to use the hashtag #keystonebooks
- Follow us on social media! It is a well known fact that social media runs the internet world. Be sure to check out Keystone Books on these awesome social media sites below!
Keystone Books and Gifts started as an apprenticeship for Lauren in her continued interest of wanting to own her own business. Her dream was to start with one bookstore in a downtown area and then expand from there in other downtown areas. In 2016, with the help of Lauren’s parents, she was able to open her first store in Circleville, Ohio. Now the story continues.
Shop local. Eat local. Read local.