Local bookstores brave small businesses, Amazon and e-books

Published: Friday, June 28, 2013 at 04:59 PM.

Sundog is a supporter of authors — both local and up-and-coming — with regular book signings on the store's front porch. The store also hosts monthly book clubs and a weekly children's story time. Summer reading lists from around the country are posted in the store so visiting families can stock up. Engaging with customers and the community is one of the joys of the book store business, Linda said.

On Rosemary Beach, The Hidden Lantern is a part of the same independent book store crusade while offering a different perspective. Like Sundog, the store is owned by family and dogs often play mascot for the stores. In fact, most days you can visit with Rhodie, a retired therapy dog, at Hidden Lantern.

Mom and daughter, Diane and Lauren Carvalho spent family vacations along 30A before moving to Rosemary Beach six years ago. They frequently visited Sundog and credit the store for motivating their small business aspirations.

There isn't any competition between the two stores. When a customer needs a book that's not in stock, either Sundog Books or Hidden Lantern is happy to send customers to the fellow independent store.

"We have a good relationship," said Diane of Sundog. "We're far enough apart that we don't compete. It's nice to have another bookstore to send customers to."

Located next to Amavida Coffee, the store's name and some of its decor is derived from "The Chronicles of Narnia" series, one of Lauren's favorite books.

While Sundog was opened before the rise of e-books, Diane and Lauren opened the doors of the Hidden Lantern two years ago, while Amazon and ebooks were going through rapid growth spurts.

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