April 2, 2013
Mississippi’s Square Books named Bookstore of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly
by Nick Davies
Independent bookstore Square Books has been in operation in Oxford, Mississippi for more than thirty years now, and this week Publishers Weekly recognized it as its Bookstore of the Year. Made up of three separate buildings on Oxford’s Courthouse Square, including a dedicated children’s bookstore, it’s known for its selection of books on the American South and by Southern writers. Oxford is most famous in literary circles for being William Faulkner‘s hometown.
Judith Rosen, who made the announcement for PW, cites a letter from Grove Atlantic publisher Morgan Entrekin to the awards committee expressing surprise that the indie favorite had never been selected for the honor before: “I cannot believe it has not been selected before. Square Books is one of the greatest bookstores in America.” John Grisham, who lives outside of Oxford, is a fan, too; he enthused about the shop to PW, saying:
When you walk in the front door you can smell books. Time stops, and you want to browse and read and gossip and drink coffee upstairs on the balcony for the rest of the day. If you want a book, it’s somewhere in the store. If you want to know something about a book or an author, Richard or one of his staff will have the answers. If you want to meet authors, they’ll stop by soon enough.
PW will have more extensive coverage of the award, including interviews with people from Square Books, in its April 29 issue. The store will also hold its second annual Camp Square Books next month, complete with author talks, picnic lunches, cocktail parties, bus tours, and hikes, should you find yourself in Oxford between May 21-24.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.