‘Books really start conversations:’ Independent bookstore in Huntsville speaks about importance of literature on World Book Day

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Snail on the Wall has been hand-delivering books to doorsteps for more than six years.

“If you live locally in Huntsville or Madison we deliver free of charge. We have these little brown bags and they just show up on your doorstep a week after you order,” owner Lady Smith said.

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The store, named after Virginia Woolf’s 1917 tale, is known as the bookstore without a store, because since it began, its been run out of Smith’s home.

“At the time, Huntsville didn’t really have a bookstore so I felt there was a need,” she said.

Hundreds of books line the walls and sit in neat stacks, waiting to be delivered all over the world.

We’ve shipped to Australia, we’ve shipped to Canada and England,” Smith said. “People really like signed copies. We love to find those hidden gems and introduce people to new authors and ones they may not have heard of.”

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Of equal importance to new books and authors, is visibility and access. The team says it works hard to organize pop-up stores and author events. Oftentimes, The Snail works with local businesses to make it happen. Last year, more than 300 people came to Books and Brews with Straight to Ale Brewing.

“An independent bookstore is really about community and that’s what’s been great about the pop up is we’ve found ways to create community without a physical space,” Smith said.

Despite living in a digital age, Smith said customers crave that community. She admits there was a fear that the sale of books would be impacted as the world got more virtual, but she said that has not been the case.

“I think people are more interested in books and stories than they ever have been,” Smith said.

In fact, she credits the internet for sparking reader connectivity with the book’s author.

“We read for all different reasons. Sometimes we read for escape, sometimes we read to learn, but we think books really start conversations,” she said. “You’re having your world opened up to all kinds of people and other places so books are very important to just keep that conversation going.”

This Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day and the Snail on the Wall team is gearing up to host its next pop-store to celebrate.

It will be at the Clay Building in Constitution Hall Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Be sure to stay with the Snail on the Wall on Facebook. Smith said big announcements are coming up soon, including one at the Independent Bookstore Day pop-up.

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