BookLink at Miami International Airport
One of the most interesting bookstores
I visit is BookLink, inside the north terminal at the Miami International Airport (MIA).
It's the only store I see where I have to go to a security office to have a background check before I can see the store buyer (every visit). That's why it's so important not to have a police record if you want to be a publishers representative! Once, with my escort Katherine Wakefield, the store's assistant manager, I even went outside the concourse to where the planes were parked to get to another door and get back into the terminal. It was quite the adventure!
One of the things that is so impressive about BookLink is the inventory. Most bookstores in airports usually just sell best sellers, candy and magazines and the employees have little or no say about what is stocked, rarely knowing anything about books anyway. BookLink is different. Not only do they look like a real bookstore, they have a staff that really knows books and an authentic book buyer that buys from publishers.
BookLink is owned by the NewsLink Group, an airport concessionaire company that owns many kinds of stores in 6 airports across the eastern US.
Romero Britto, the Brazilian artist, is hugely popular in Miami. The airport even has a whole store that just sells his art and design. Not to be out done though, BookLink has its own selection of his work.
Obviously, having a location in the international concourse at MIA, the store sells a huge amount of tourist-oriented books and paraphernalia.
You can see here why I am so impressed with their selection. Books are the number one item for sale here and no one forgets it.
Here I am with the wonderful assistant manager Katherine Wakefield and wunderkind manager/book buyer James Knowles.
James and Katherine are long time Waldenbook and Borders employees. James managed Waldenbooks and Borders for more than 20 years before taking over at BookLink, hence his great knowledge of books.
Katherine began selling books in Miami in the early '90s while she was a vocal major studying music education. She then lived in Germany for almost fifteen years where she was an English teacher. She returned to the States and bookselling in 2007 and has been a supervisor at BookLink since its launch in July 2011.
In answer to my on going "back in time" question she replies:
I would most want to go to Weimar during the last decade of the 18th century and meet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The romantic in me would want to discuss the ideals which inspired him to write The Sorrows of Young Werther. However, my musical side would most want him to recite his poetry which inspired the likes of Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Wolf to set his verse to some of the loveliest, most famous and oft-sung Lieder (art songs) of all time.
Thanks Katherine, I'll see you in Wahlheim!
James said his dream would be to travel down the Mississippi in the 1800's on a paddle steamer with Mark Twain.
With that in mind I leave you with this quote:
" Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself."