Interview With Bethany Beach Books

Photo courtesy of Bethany Beach Books

Bethany Beach Books is the 9th stop on my Independent Book Store tour. In an effort to bring awareness of how vital these places are, I’m interviewing the great folks who manage them.

Bethany Beach Books is an independently owned bookstore, located only a few steps off the boardwalk in Bethany Beach, Delaware. The store was established in 1991 and has been independently owned since the day it opened. They are open every day at 10:00 am, year round!

The moment you a peek through the window, a vast cheerful room entices you to enter. Once you enter, a host of books for readers of all ages and genres, invites you to open your mind, channel your inner bookworm and dig in!

FYI: In addition to the regular staff, high-profile characters have been known to make appearances at the store. I have it on good authority (with pictures to prove it) that The Cat In The Hat, The Grinch and Pete the Cat have all turned up for different events over the years.

Amanda, the manager of Bethany Beach Books, was kind enough to answer a few questions about the store and the value it adds to her community of readers. 

Hello, Amanda, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What motivated you to open (or work at) an Independent Book Store?

The store opened in 1991 so I was only a year old and can’t speak for the motivation for opening the store, although I assume the reason was something very warm and fuzz.

I decided to apply for a job at Bethany Beach Books when I was in high school because I have always been a bookworm. I thought, what better place to work than an independent bookstore?

I’ve been at the store for 13 years now and can’t imagine being anywhere else. Bookstores are super special places, especially independent bookstores!

Can you tell us a little about Bethany Beach Books?

Bethany Beach Books opened in 1991 and is Bethany Beach’s only independent bookstore. We are located just steps from the sandy beach and boardwalk of Bethany Beach – we can hear the ocean in our store most days when we prop the door open.

We’re a smaller bookstore (about 2,000 square feet) but pride ourselves on having a really great selection of everything from new releases and bestsellers, adult fiction & non-fiction to middle grade, young adult, and children’s books.

Since we are at the beach, our business is very seasonal, so the summer months are crazy and full of excitement while the winter months are a bit more cozy and quiet; it’s a great balance.

Photo courtesy of Bethany Beach Books

What’s involved with running an independent bookstore?

Shew, where to start?! When I tell people I work at a bookstore most of the time they assume I read all day… which would be lovely but is far from the truth!

Like most small businesses, we have a smaller staff who do a great job wearing multiple hats. Besides the normal, boring tasks all businesses must tackle like bills, HR, paperwork, etc., we get to do some really fun things, too.

Our event coordinator, Zandria Senft, plans a ton of really epic author events for us, we have super fun story times for children during the summer, we get to make book displays, and recommend books to readers.

My favorite part of my job is ordering all of the new books, you get to see what is coming out in the months ahead and curate the store’s selection of titles.

I also love being able to recommend my favorite reads to customers, the best part is when they return to the store and insist you give them more suggestions because they loved your recommendation so much!

Is competition with online retailers difficult?

We are very lucky to be located at the beach where vacationers want and need books all the time so fortunately, we don’t have to compete with online retailers quite as much as other independent bookstores we are familiar with.

It is still difficult, though, when customers come into the store and expect us to price-match what Amazon is selling the book for… which obviously we can’t do if we want to stay in business.

The worst is when a customer comes in, asks for a bunch of recommendations, takes pictures of our books, doesn’t buy anything, and goes home and buys the books online. Eek!

Like many small businesses today, we all have to compete with the big box and online stores. We accomplish that by providing great customer service, being involved and immersed in our community, and hosting really great events… things our online competitors can’t do.

Photo courtesy of Bethany Beach Books

What makes your store unique?

Our location definitely makes us unique! As with any bookstore, I think our selection of books also makes us unique. We try to have the big bestsellers while also keeping deep backlist and hidden gems on our shelves for readers to find.

What are your biggest sellers?

Our biggest sellers for genres: fiction, “book-club” fiction, children’s picture books.
Specific titles from last year: Where the Crawdads Sing, Summer of ’69, the Dog Man series.

Photo courtesy of Bethany Beach Books

Do you have promotions throughout the year?

We do a big promotion every year for Small Business Saturday (the day after Black Friday). We also always discount the hardcover New York Times bestsellers and any pre-orders on our website.

Do you have author book signings?

We do! Our event coordinator, Zandria Senft, does an epic job planning fantastic events for us!

We host author book signings throughout the summer months, concentrating on mid-June to mid-August, when all of our vacationers are here in Bethany.

Zandria works throughout the year planning great events and is already planning our 2020 Summer Author series now.

Photo courtesy of Bethany Beach Books

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

My advice for authors just starting out is to do your best to get in with a great publisher (easier said than done, I know).

Cover design is huge! I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover but everyone does.

Never give up. Your first book may not have the impact you hoped for or may not be as well received but don’t stop writing. Even if you’re not writing for publication anymore, keep writing for yourself.

Photo courtesy of Bethany Beach Books

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you and your store?

If you can’t come visit us in Bethany Beach, please do visit us online! We always have a lot of books available to pre-order, most of them are signed first-editions that come with swag (yay!).

We also have a subscription box, The Book Drop, where we send our favorite hidden gem reads once a month.

We know not everyone is fortunate enough to have an independent bookstore close to them so we are bringing the independent bookstore to you.
www.BethanyBeachBooks.com

www.TheBookDrop.com

What are some of your favorite books/authors?

Ohhhh, this is so hard. This is equivalent to what I imagine asking a parent which is their favorite child… actually, this question might be harder (just kidding, kind of!).

I absolutely loved Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, I read it a few months before publication and instantly fell in love.

Something a little less in the spotlight right now that I have loved and always recommend to someone looking for something incredibly beautiful but heart-wrenching as well is A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. Ugh, so beautiful.

Another one of my all-time favorites is The Heart of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker. Something coming out this spring that I read a few months ago and CANNOT wait to be published in May is Alex George’s The Paris Hours.

Whoever is reading this right now, go pre-order your copy now from your favorite independent bookstore because I loved, loved, loved this book. I’m also a huge Harry Potter nerd. #Hufflepuff

If you could have a writer’s group with authors from any time period, who would you invite?

Oh what a great question! I’d definitely invite Chuck Palahniuk because I love his work and wow, what must go on in that creative mind of his!

J.K. Rowling for sure. Paulo Coelho, Jewell Parker Rhodes (I heard her speak once, she’s amazing), Sharon Creech (she was my favorite author growing up!), Neil Gaiman, and Jason Reynolds.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

We do! Bethany Beach Books can be found on Facebook (Bethany Beach Books), Twitter (@BethanyBooks), Instagram (@BethanyBeachBooks), and online at www.BethanyBeachBooks.com

Our subscription box is The Book Drop, more information can be found at www.TheBookDrop.com

If anyone wants to keep tabs on my beloved one-eyed cat named Winks or to see what I’m reading, I can be found on Instagram at @az.andthe.atlas

Thank you, Amanda, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you and Bethany Beach Books continued success and lost of luck!

Photo courtesy of Bethany Beach Books

Interview With Blogger Anie

Book blogger, Anie took time out of her busy schedule to talk with me about her blog Diary of a Wannabe Writer.

As a writer and a book reviewer, Anie believes it’s all about the books. Some of her favorite genres are urban fantasy and high fantasy.


It’s thanks to people like Anie that authors have a credible venue where they can receive authentic reviews on their work. Thanks, Anie!

Now that I’ve introduced you to Anie, let’s get to know her a little better.

Hello, Anie, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a blogger?

One day, when I was in a really bad place I was browsing YouTube and accidentally stumbled onto a BookTube video. This lead me down the rabbit hole that is the internet of books.


Soon after I discovered bookstagram and blogs that were dedicated to books (my favorite). I was blown away, by how many people read and love books as much (or more) than I do and like the same stuff.


Those people who work so hard on sharing booklove pulled me out of the funk and helped me rediscover my love for books. Before that I hadn’t picked up a book in months. I’ve been reading ever since.

After a few months of just observing, I opened my own blog. I wanted to be part of that world, even if only in a small way, and Diary of a Wannabe Writer was born. 🙂

Can you tell us a little about Diary of A Wannabe Writer?

Diary of a Wannabe Writer is my little piece of the internet where it’s all about books. I talk about books I’ve read, books I want to read, make random lists of my favorites and write about my writing journey.

Is blogging your full-time profession?

I wish.:)

How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging for a little over 3 years.

How many books have you reviewed?

Before blogging, I posted reviews on Goodreads, so I don’t know the exact number, but it’s well over 400.

Which genres do you review?


I review anything that sparks my interest, mostly urban fantasy, high fantasy, sci-fi, sometimes romance and anything with a paranormal element to it.

What do you find most challenging reviewing for these genres?

For me, it’s very hard to review a book I love, that is special to me because it’s hard to put those feelings into words.

What are you reviewing now?

I’m currently reviewing The Connely Curse by Velez, A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab & Angelbound (special edition) by Christina Bauer.

What has been your most rewarding experience since you started blogging?

The whole blogging experience is very rewarding, but a few things stand out: like meeting people all over the world who like the same things as me, finding new books and genres that I would otherwise never pick up and read, and seeing people love the books I’ve recommended (that’s the best feeling :)).

What advice would you give to bloggers just starting out?


Have fun with it, don’t take it too seriously.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

That I love to talk about anything bookish with fellow book lovers, so just message me anywhere if you like to geek out over books.

What message are you sharing in your blog?

Hopefully, book love.

What do you think makes a good story?

I don’t think there is just one thing that makes a good story.

It has to be like some kind of magical blend of great characters, cool setting, amazing storyline & something else – but it’s one of those things, you know when you see it.:)

What is your rating scale and what does each score mean?


I rate similarly to Goodreads, from 1 to 5 💚.
💚Hated it
💚💚 don’t like it
💚💚💚It was just OK, something missing
💚💚💚💚I liked
💚💚💚💚💚LOVE IT, a new favorite

What criteria do you follow for a review?

I focus on how the book makes me feel as to opposed to the characteristics of it. I can explain that better with an example, let’s take Twilight.


When reviewing it I could write about the dysfunctional relationship between Bella and Edward, the faults with Edward’s nature and the borderline parental neglect with regard to Bella, but to be perfectly honest, when I read the book I didn’t think about any of that.

I was so into the story that the world just melted away. And it’s been years since I’ve read it, but the story is still with me—that is a good book for me.

So when I’m reviewing a book I try to keep that in mind, how the book made me feel, if it pulled me into its world, if the story/ characters jumped out of the page and if the story stayed with me.

Other elements like story development and characters are important too, but those are not the things that stay with you, that affect you. And when I review the story, those are the things I’m looking for.

What are your favorite books/authors?

Wow, that’s a hard question. Harry Potter of course, after countless re-reads its still one of my favorites.

Relentless Series by Karen Lynch, Penryn & the End of Days Series by Susan Ee, anything by V.E Schwabb (she is absolutely amazing).

Rick Riordan & Christina Bauer. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I love fairytale retellings, Ready Player One and so many more. It’s very hard to just pick a few.:)

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?

I love Marvel movies, I’ve been a fan ever since the first Iron Man. I’ve watched that movie like a million times.


As for TV shows, I have this habit of quitting the show in the middle of the season and never wanting it to watch again.


Regardless of that, I love Friends (watched it so many times I have every episode memorized), The Big Bang Theory, Lucifer (first season), Scorpion (first season), Arrow & Flash (both just the first season—can you see a pattern here ? 🙂

When you’re not blogging where can we find you?


Most of the time I’m reading. 🙂


I also love to write and make up new stories, spend time with my niece, watch Netflix and waste lots of time on social media.

How can an author have their book reviewed by you?

All you have to do is send me an email with info about the book and if the story sounds like something I would enjoy I’m happy to review it.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

I have a blog [http://diaryofawannabewriter.blogspot.com/], bookstagram [@aniesbooks] & Twitter [@anie_1027].

Thank you, Anie, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you and Diary of a Wannabe Writer continued success and lots of luck!

Thank you so much!