Locals Only: Longmont Bookstore Focuses on Colorado Authors

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It’s difficult, maybe impossible, for small local bookstores to compete with the Amazons of the world. It’s just as hard for local authors with a smaller audience to compete in those marketplaces against the Stephen Kings and Dale Carnegies. Faced with those realities, Longmont-based author and financial professional Ron Vejrostek came up with a solution: a local bookstore dedicated to local authors. And on Saturday, Local Editions opened its doors with that mission.

“I had a book come out about three weeks ago, and as it was going through the publishing process, I was working on the marketing,” Vejrostek recalls. “I realized that we don’t get diddly-squat from most of the bookstores unless we want to pay to go in there and promote our books — and the libraries give us like one day a year. And I thought, ‘You know, somebody should open a little mini-bookstore that carries nothing but Colorado authors.’ Colorado is very good at supporting other Colorado ventures. I was about ready to move my office anyway for my tax business, and I thought, ‘Heck, I’m somebody. I suppose I can do it.’ And here we are. The opportunity [came] at the right time with the right idea, I think.”

Featuring more than one hundred books from more than eighty Colorado authors, Local Editions is dedicated to a different kind of book-buying experience. Each and every book in the store is shelved facing the customer; the books are arranged alphabetically by title, regardless of genre. It’s a bookstore built with browsing in mind, creating a front-and-center user experience.

“People will see a lot more than whatever they went in to look for,” Vejrostek says. “We’re hoping people will be interested in other areas that way. It’s comfortable. Small, quaint. We have a little coffee bar with coffee or tea for a dollar, on the honor system. It will be a very comfortable, very easygoing experience.”

The authors themselves will be integral to the bookstore. This past weekend’s grand opening saw two of the store’s featured authors on hand, providing music and miniature BLT sandwiches, both of which were tied intimately to their respective works for sale. Starting September 2, every Wednesday evening will feature two authors doing a meet-and-greet event at the store, and the final Saturday of each month will feature another, frequently a children’s author. It’s all part of crafting the kind of book-buying experience Vejrostek finds appealing.

“I took everything [about bookstores] I liked and put it in this store, and took everything I didn’t like and left it out,” he continues. “Bookstores are having a hard time. I believe in the philosophy of: If you want different results, change your process. So we’re going to do this and see how it works.”

Visit Local Editions Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until 8 p.m. for author events), or Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., at 2919 17th Avenue, Suite 110, in Longmont;  visit the Local Editions website and Facebook page for more information.

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