Midtown Reader is a dream come true

An outside look at Midtown Reader. Photo by Shamonee Baker

Sally Bradshaw, a small-town girl from Greenville, Miss., became a business owner when she and her husband decided to open her childhood dream — a bookstore — in November 2016.

“Growing up there were probably toys I wanted that I couldn’t get but my parents never refused us a book,” Bradshaw said.

Midtown Reader, the only locally owned, independent bookstore that sells new books, is located at 1123 Thomasville Road in the heart of Midtown, just next to Jeri’s Midtown Café. It is also the only store in the area that can post its sales weekly into the New York Times book review.

We’re more than just a bookstore,” Bradshaw said. “We’re a place for people to gather, share ideas, information and learn, regardless of what they read or believe.”

According to the American Booksellers Association’s website, overall book sales across ABA member stores have increased by 7.5 percent over the past five years at more than 2,400 locations.

“All of this is a result of the fact that indie booksellers remain a resilient and entrepreneurial group,” ABA said. “Independent bookstores offer a unique — and unparalleled — opportunity of discovery of new authors and great writing,”

Where the magic happens. Photo by Shamonee Baker

Midtown Reader has hosted numerous author events that allow guest to meet with world renowned authors such as James Patterson, the Guinness World Record holder and No. 1 on The New York Times bestsellers by a single author. The bookstore also supports local authors.

“We try to bring the community together around literary events and programming,” Bradshaw said. “You can meet people in the community who are lifelong learners and care deeply about literature and education.”

Melanie Canfield, a first-time customer at Midtown Reader, is a native of Daytona Beach who was visiting Tallahassee and in need of a journal when she came across this bookstore.

“I thought this was a really interesting place,” Canfield said. “It has such a great selection of books.”

Since COVID-19, Midtown Reader has implemented new ways to keep its readers and employees safe.

Lucy Smith, a bookseller at Midtown Reader, doesn’t see the transition to COVID-19 restrictions and online events as a challenging one.

“It’s been nice to be able to host events online,” Smith said. “We are able to get authors we wouldn’t normally be able to get in person.”

Midtown Reader has limited its capacity to five people at a time, offers free masks for anyone who may not have one in the store, curbside pickup, book delivery to your front door and has even added private browsing by 15-minute appointments on Mondays from noon to 4 p.m.

For updates on upcoming events and new book arrivals follow the Midtown Reader on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter @MidtownReader or through its website at www.MidtownReader.com