November 2016

Those that claim print is dead just haven’t checked the vitals. Certainly the landscape for publication has changed, but there is evidence enough that hard-copy books remain irreplaceable. One need look no further than East Nashville’s Her Bookshop, which opened its doors in July.

her-bookshop-joelle-photograph-by-melissa-m-mills

Photograph by Melissa M. Mills

“The customers I’m hoping to draw are ones who appreciate the sense of a book as an object, beyond the words, as a beautiful thing,” explains owner Joelle Herr, “whether that’s through beautiful photography or illustrations or the design of the book itself, right down to the material.”

Herr, who worked in publishing for 20 years, has an insider’s sense of the types of books that will compel customers to eschew the Internet in favor of the tactile. The store carries around 900 books about art, photography, cooking, design, and other topics that lend themselves to beautiful presentation, all at wide-ranging price points, painstakingly curated by Herr.

“You’ll find just about anything there except what you’re expecting to find,” she says. “I really appreciate and miss the part [as a editor] when you’re picking everything from the paper stock to the cover materials, all the thought that went into that. So I’m sort of drawing on that experience to select the books that I’m going to be carrying.”

Herr grew up in Nashville and, after returning from years living elsewhere, she went from deciding to start the shop to opening its doors within just three months. While she’s been pleased with her sales in the early going, one disappointment remains.

“The majority of the people coming in are not from Nashville,” she says. “That’s a little frustrating because I know that within a ten-mile radius there are so many book lovers who would love this shop.”

Her Bookshop is located in the Shoppes on Fatherland, 1006 Fatherland Street, #103a. For more information, please visit www.herbookshop.com.

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