Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Brick. Mortar. Ink. Paper: Why We Bought a Book Store

The Wild Fig Books--1439 Leestown Road--Lexington, KY
Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.  One does not love breathing.  ~Harper Lee

I have owned a house in the Meadowthorpe Neighborhood in Lexington, KY for more than 17 years. My son turned 13 when we moved into our house. The twins were five. One of the mainstays of the neighborhood was Morgan Adams Books, an eclectic used bookstore less than five minutes from my house. I bought books there for my children, for myself. I thought I had died and gone to heaven to trade a pile of books in for another pile. I was a single parent and sold books there when bills were tight. When I was writing my early books, I went to the bookstore to find inspiration, often leaving a pot on the stove or the kids playing in the yard since it was right around the corner to rush down for that book that would lead me to gently into the next phase of writing my own.

Years later, when Ron and I became a couple, he decided to work part time at Morgan Adams so that  he could supplement his artist's income. How perfect! It was right in the neighborhood. Truth be told, we bought more books than his salary provided over two years and he knew the perfect way to charm me more (If that is possible. He's a very charming man :) ) was to bring me a book he knew I'd adore.

So when he came home and said "Well I won't have a job at the end of the month," we began to at first play with the idea and then to be more serious about it until we simply bit the bullet, bought the inventory and got the ball rolling.

Photo from the Lexington Herald-Leader June 9, 2011
Since we opened The Wild Fig Books on June 20, so many people have thanked us for opening, for keeping a bookstore at this location. "You're so brave to open...in this day and time, " they say.

Of course we've all heard to the stories about the large book chains closing and I have mourned the closing of every single independent across the country, many of which I visited last time I was on a book tour. But brave? I've never thought of myself in those exact terms. Unrestrained, maybe? Careless? No. Mostly it's simply that I don't believe the hype. A day and a time when ink and paper books don't exist. Pshaw!

We thought it would work because: 

1) The previous owners (Mary Morgan and David Adams) spent more than 20 years building the foundation of a book store at this location, so obviously it had worked on some level. This neighborhood needs a bookstore. Lexington needs a quality bookstore on this side of town.

2) We have great business neighbors in Goodwill, Steepleton's, Pop's Resale, The Dollar Store and The Meadowthorpe Cafe.

3) We thought we could make it affordable. Of course this part is a little scary but in addition to gushing over the books we are trying to be business savvy.  But frankly we probably gush more (Especially me).

4) Most importantly, everyone I know, whether they have a Kindle or not, still buys ink and paper books. Ron and I still buy ink and paper books. I still write ink and paper books. Ron was recently commissioned to design a real ink and paper book cover for a poet-friend. We want our children and grandchildren to continue to read  ink and paper books. As book lovers and writers and being an artistic couple of course we jumped at the chance to be brick and mortar bookstore owners.

We hope that you will pass the word along to those you know. We plan on a variety of readings and musical guests in the future and have an art performance/installment in the works.

Join us for our official grand opening on Sunday, September 18 beginning at 1 p.m. and meanwhile come in, buy some books, taste our coffee, enjoy our comfy chairs. We are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. We have lots of books to choose from.

Call 859-381-8133 for more information. Or catch us on Facebook or Twitter.

We are located in the Meadowthorpe Shopping Center between Goodwill and Steepleton's near Pops Resale.
From Downtown Lexington, KY
  1. 1Depart US-27 / US-60 / US-68 / S Broadway toward US-25 North / US-60 North / US-421 West / W Main St158 ft
  2. 2Turn left onto US-25 North / US-421 North / W Main St0.5 mi
  3. 3Keep straight onto US-421 / W Main St1.0 mi
  4. 4Turn right onto N Forbes Rd, and then immediately turn left onto Leestown Rd0.1 miMarathon on the corner
  5. 5Arrive at The Wild Fig BookstoreThe last intersection is W Main StIf you reach Burke Rd, you've gone too far


  1. Great story. Great shop. Can't wait to get back to Lexington to come shopping!

  2. I wish your bookstore was five minutes from my house. I'd be there every single day:) You look happy.

  3. I am so glad to see someone actually opening a bookstore. I live in Dover Delaware and our very last book store is closing it's doors (Atlantic Books), as soon as they are sold out.
    It is such a shame. Their reason was the economy and ereaders. Now the only place you can get a book of paper in this town is at the library. The internet is our only option.
    Good for you and the best of luck in your venture, I am hoping it is a great success. Wish more people could do the same in other parts of the country.

  4. Loved my pause here this morning Crystal. I am attracted by the name 'The Wild Fig'. Wondering whether the name of your first book 'Blackberries, Blackberries' was mused through this bookstore connection... may be not. You are a wonderful writer. Peace & joy ~