5500 S. 56th Street, Suite 4
Lincoln, NE 68516
(We spoke with Linda Hillegass of Lee Booksellers, in November about bookselling and the holidays. Linda and her husband Jim McKee own the bookstore.)
1. What are
some of the traditions at Lee Booksellers for the holidays, such as sales or
All year long we keep a pot of coffee for our customers
and in November and December, we put a plate of homemade Christmas cookies
alongside. Joni, a longtime staff
member loves to bake and for the two months before Christmas, not even the
Keebler elves are busier in the evenings. We’re pretty sure some of our customers come into the store in December
just to get one of her meltingly buttery Scotch shortbread cookies.
2. Is there
anything Lee Booksellers is doing new this year?
We also do lots of store autographings and fall is our
busiest season. November usually sees
one or two events a week. In December
we’ll be hosting a favorite suspense writer, Omahan Sean Doolittle. This year we’ll also have a free children’s
concert featuring The String Beans, a local group that features its own
original children’s songs for ages 3 to 8. They have a new Christmas CD, Rocking Your Christmas Stocking,
and will intersperse songs from that album with outrageously goofy jokes. We’ve also started two store knitting clubs
that have drawn a very enthusiastic response.
3. What do you
expect will be big sellers for this season?
The bestsellers for the season usually don’t become clear
till around the first week in December, but at this point we’re seeing strong
sales of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s TEAM OF RIVALS and Sandra Boynton’s YOUR
PERSONAL PENGUIN and the penguin doll that goes with it. By mid-December, I think we’ll be seeing
good numbers on the reasonably priced paperback edition of Joel Sartore’s NEBRASKA:
UNDER A BIG RED SKY.
4. Why do you
believe it is important to support independent bookstores?
Here’s what we said about that in
our last newsletter:
If you believe that local businesses add something to our community, NOW IS THE TIME to vote
with your dollars to keep us here.
Like all independent booksellers (and many other local
retail stores), Lee Booksellers will make the profit that sees us through the
year during the next two months.
We believe that shops like Lee Booksellers and The Coinery,
as well as Ideal Grocery, Finishing Touches, Habitat, Hobbytown, Schaffer’s,
Finke Gardens, Campbells Nursery and others bring individuality to our
community. Add your own favorites to
Local businesses contribute to the local economy by hiring
local cabinet shops, sign makers, contractors, accountants, insurance
agents…you get the idea. In contrast,
a chain store typically makes minimal use of local services.
Chain stores export profits to corporate headquarters. A 2003 economic impact study in Austin,
Texas concluded that for every $100 spent at a chain, only $13 remained in the
community, while $45 remained when that $100 was spent at a hometown business.
We encourage you to “un-chain” yourself. Shop local and keep your dollars at
home. With Christmas just around the
corner, don’t forget the little shop around the corner.
5. What are
you reading right now?
I just finished—and loved—Michael Perry’s TRUCK: A LOVE STORY. Now I’ve gone back to read his previous book: POPULATION: 485. Both are about his life as an EMT and freelance writer in small-town Wisconsin. His writing is thoughtful, funny, smart, well-crafted—and did I mention funny?!