An interview with Melissa Smith of Bodacious Bookstore

What’s your favorite area of your bookstore? 

My favorite area of the bookstore is the cozy gray chairs near the window. The lighting is perfect for reading and the chairs are so comfy! I also absolutely love our children’s area, which looks like a lighthouse. It’s so magical.

What’s the coolest book cover that you like to have facing out on the shelves?

I love the design of the book Horrostor by Grady Hendrix. The way that it looks like an IKEA catalog is super genius, plus, he’s one of my favorite authors. 

If you had a staff pick for a recent new release, what would it be? Backlist pick? 

Ooooh, that’s a tough one. It would be a tie between Mad Honey by Jodi Piccoult and Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro. They were both SO GOOD! My backlist pick would be Shiner by Amy Jo Burns.

What are some misconceptions people have about working in a bookstore?

That you get to sit and read all day. That is the FURTHEST thing from the truth.

What is your least favorite bookstore task? 

Arranging the bookshelves and making sure the books with shelftalkers are front facing.

Favorite part about working in a bookstore? Getting to see all the new releases firsthand. Recommending a book to someone and they buy it and love it.

Can you recommend an underrated readalike book for one of the store’s top titles?

If you liked Verity by Colleen Hoover you would LOVE The Push by Ashley Audrain.

What’s the best dedication or first line of a book that you can remember?  

“The swimming pool is filled with dog shit and Dee’s laughter mocks us at dawn.” Nightcrawling by Leila Motley

What’s YOUR favorite indie bookstore that you’ve visited, besides your own? 

I visited Fabled Bookshop in Waco, TX the summer of 2021 and I absolutely fell in love. I attend all of their virtual events, get their newsletter and stalk all of their social media.

Melissa Smith is a manager at Bodacious Bookstore in Pensacola, Florida.