This blog post is by Alex Hendrickson and appeared in StyleBlueprint on Monday. Having been to most of these stores, I cannot recommend Joel & Carol Tomlin’s Landmark Booksellers enough. Like Square Books in Oxford, just walking in the place takes you back in time. Plus, if you’re looking to purchase books by the box ask Joel to see his warehouse behind the store. Only go when you have a couple of hours to spend. It’s worth the trip.
“Books are everywhere; and always the same sense of adventure fills us. Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack. Besides, in this random miscellaneous company we may rub against some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the best friend we have in the world.” ― Virginia Woolf, Street Haunting
Like many of you, we appreciate a story when read from paper pages — even more so when those pages have smudges from past readers, folds on saved pages and even an occasional underlined sentence or verse that spoke to the previous owner. There is something commandingly intimate about getting lost in a secondhand book, and a few dedicated souls in town allow us to indulge in the pleasure of picking up a book with a history of its own. If you are on the hunt for a good, gently loved book, or just have the desire to spend all day sifting through great literature, head to one of these locally owned used bookstores for one-of-a-kind collections.
114 E. Main St., Franklin • (615) 791-6400
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Housed in The Old Factory Store (built in 1826), Landmark Booksellers elicits feelings of visiting an old friend’s home. Cocktail hour begins at 4 p.m., meaning you can find Joel Tomlin, who owns Landmark with his wife, Carol, sipping a bourbon on the comfortable leather couches enveloped by 60,000 new and hard-to-find rare books, including more than 1,500 signed first editions. The atmosphere is welcoming and the selection is diverse.
The original inventory that helped open the bookstore — a 50,000-plus collection — came from Dad’s Old Bookstore, which was located in Green Hills and closed 11 years ago. The Tomlilns, in an attempt to find something to do together, opened Landmark Booksellers with that collection in July 2005, and the selection of books has only grown over the years. Joel’s passion lies in Tennessee and Southern literature, culture and history, but that is not all you will find in this two-story shop. Books on all subjects are conveniently arranged, making looking and exploring even more fun. While you are hunting for the perfect book, allow any kiddos you have in tow to be entertained in the children’s reading room. (Insider tip: if you cannot find something you are looking for, Landmark Booksellers has a one-day wait on new books. So let them order it for you!)
The building, which was once home to a jewelry store, is the oldest commercial building in Franklin. Its history and architecture attracted the couple to open their business and continues to attract tourists today. While they have a solid foundation of loyal, local customers, they also have the benefit of incoming tourists. Two books that have brought a lot of folks in? The Widow of the South, by Robert Hicks, and The Bridge, by Karen Kingsbury (loosely based on the bookstore).
Read the rest of the blog here.