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Here at cSocially we are lovers of books. Bookworms, book nerds, flat out kooky crazy for books. After all, we three are English majors and Paige is a successful writer, submerged in all things literary. Not exactly a surprise then that we have deep, special, tingly love for the local bookstore, East Side Story.

The bookstore is like a childhood fantasy brought to life: a small but complete assortment of literature by local authors and artists. The genres are labeled by letters spelled in Scrabble pieces, paintings have books incorporated in them, and there are books that are also planters (with no harm done to the book). Sunlight spills in from the main window, where just below sits a cabinet made from reclaimed wood with a quote lovingly scrawled across it. The whole shop has an almost magical feel to it, much like any good book.

East Side Story – Their Story

Chuck Beard is also a lover of books. As a freelance author, editor and writer in Nashville, he realized there was an opportunity to provide a hub for others like him. While Nashville has always had local bookstores, the city lacked the environment that would emphasize and support local, aspiring authors on the level he had in mind. Chuck envisioned a place where local authors not only could sell their books but also have a platform for sharing stories and developing their craft.

Last summer, he entered his business vision into a contest hosted by Proof Branding Solutions. As the winner, Chuck received services for Proof to help kickstart his store. The next step was to get a location, where kismet entered and The Idea Hatchery had an opening. In a shockingly short period of time, Chuck was able to connect with various local authors and artists that happily poured support and feedback into the project. As a self proclaimed creative outlet, the bookstore signifies success that can be found by marrying talent and community.

What You Will Love

  1. The selection of books is inspiring for any aspiring pen monkey — or even just those of us wanting to support our local authors.  The store offers poetry, fiction, non-fiction. Top selling authors for the store currently include Ben Burr, JT Ellison, and Ridley Wills II. 
  2. The store is tiny in terms of square footage but packs a powerful punch of inspiration. There is something tremendously validating about walking through a sea of homegrown creativity, as if just by touching those beautiful book covers the essence of that talent will seep into you. Plus, it’s inevitable that the other browsers in the store are fellow bookworms so striking up a conversation and getting into a lively discussion is bound to happen.
  3. The East Side Storytellin’ live/radio events are held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. During these evenings there are book readings, musical performances and interviews where authors can share details about their process. This is free to the public, and be sure to get there early as it starts promptly at 7 and ends by 8:30. These intimate gatherings are yet another chance for writers to network, compare notes and share their encouragement for each other. Can’t make it to the store? Try listening live on WAMB 1200 AM/ 99.3 FM.
  4. East Side Story  started a book club about 3 months ago. Their only requirements are to purchase the book through the store and meet at the end of the month for the discussion WITH the author. Um, a book club that ends with a discussion with the author? Yes, please. The store does try to keep it at about 20 members so please call for availability.

Community

Honestly, what doesn’t this bookstore do with the community? The entire premise of the store is community based, and the store gets involved in connecting dots around the community wherever possible. The store has made contributions to several non-profit groups and fundraisers. Chuck has helped host various events around town, including Eastwood Ensemble. He also worked with local restaurants to develop the BOOK ME program for readers of all ages. And in the truest spirit of Christmas, Chuck organized this spectacular experience, which he plans to do again in 2013.

Social Media

East Side Story is all over the social media front. They can be found on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Of course, there is the website, where blog posts are done on a regular basis. Both Chuck and his wife are active on these accounts, making regular posts, pins, and tweets to get the word out about everything from events to new items in the store. Since Chuck is so well versed on this, I thought I would let him have the final say on just how social media impacts their business:

"I'd say that social media helps with everything and everyone these days because that is the main way people receive their information about everything from events, to places to go, and people to see, etc.  Timing is of the essence as well as the source and outlet because most people don't have a very long attention span when it comes to making plans.  Every form of social media helps you get your points across in style and promptly.  As much as having physical books and book art is a throwback of sorts, it takes social media and modern technology and marketing to keep the people in the loop and wanting more. " 
- Chuck Beard

Have you been to the East Side Story and have a story to share about your experience? Let me know about it. You can leave a comment below or email me directly: Email Jenn.

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