Local bookstore offers something different with aim of giving back

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CARMEL, Ind. - It’s the middle of winter, so many Hoosiers are looking for something fun to do indoors. Books & Brews in Carmel says head their way!

On a bigger scale, more consumers are doing just that.

Over the last several years, book sales were down as many people shopped for books online. But now that tide is turning.

Husband and wife team Alex and Lori Stanley own Books & Brews at Carmel City Center, one of nine locations in central Indiana.

The stores are hybrid bookstores, selling used books for $3 each, and craft breweries with a full food menu.

This location donates 10 percent of their profits to the Carmel Library Foundation.

They also offer game nights, trivia contests and additional fundraisers. And what they sell, beer, wine, food, is as locally sourced as possible, another way to give back, says the couple.

“If you own a business it needs to mean something, and we try to give back to our community as much as possible,” Lori said.

These departures from traditional book stores have turned many customers into regulars.

‘’It’s not like a normal bar, I like that there’s not a lot of TVs, people actually talk to each other,” says customer Blake Smith. “You never know what books you’re going to find.”

The American Booksellers Association shows that online shopping nearly wiped out small bookstores, with their numbers dropping about 40 percent from the mid-90s through 2009.

But a comeback is underway.

NPR reports, from 2009 – 2015, independent bookstores rebounded, growing in number by 35 percent. Publishers Weekly reports physical book sales increased every year since 2013.

While Books & Brews is a local chain selling used books, Lori and Alex hope those trends continue.

“We’re really built on that human connection aspect whether it’s with the beer, the food or the books so I think that gives you that different perspective than just hopping online,” says Alex.

The Carmel Books & Brews also hosts one fundraiser a month. The next event, January 25, will raise money for Northern Lights Sled Dog Rescue.

Additionally, the Books & Brews location on Shelby Street on the south side is offering free meals to federal employees during the partial government shutdown. Click here to learn more.

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