Celebrating 17 years of page turning action

Meet G-Baby
Meet artist G-Baby on November 29th

BY MARCY PALMERI, Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG — Celebrating her nearly two decades of ownership, St. Petersburg native Tangela Bailey offers more than just books at Reader’s Choice Book & Gift Store.

Bailey decided to open a mobile bookstore 17 years ago as a result of not being able to find African-American books at the local stores.

“Bookstores would order African-American books for you, but they wouldn’t stock them,” Bailey said as she explained how baffled she was by the lack of book visibility by African-American writers being displayed along the shelves of these stores.

November 29 will mark the 17th anniversary of all her hard work that began from her car to her apartment and finally this determined woman opened a storefront in St. Petersburg and has been going ever since.

“My bookstore holds all kinds of community meetings and seminars,” Bailey said.

A couponing seminar is next in line on her calendar of events. The store can accommodate 15-20 people, which is more than enough room for readers to gather for a book discussion. And students enjoy studying at the tables while taking advantage of free Wi-Fi.

Spoken word/poetry readings are held on the second Saturday of each month and from time to time you will find local authors intermingling with the patrons for book signings.

The store carries everything you would normally find in a bookstore and more. There is an array of interesting books including urban fiction.

“It came into play because those books sold and did very well. They (the other bookstores) determined there was a demand and began stocking urban fiction,” she said.

Urban fiction is also called Street Fiction, which revolves around a love story or a relationship.

She is glad to know that the community is reading, regardless of the content. She said she may not agree with some of it, but it sells.

In addition to a wide range of books, her store also carries church supplies, African attire and art; shea butter, raw black soap as well as Greek paraphernalia for sororities and fraternities.

Her store is also authorized to send books to prisons. If a customer has a loved one who is incarcerated and they would like to select a book for them to read, just call her store and place an order.

Bailey is overcoming obstacles in her life right now and is not at the store as often as she would like to be, but it is open six days a week “no matter what.”

Although Bailey is thankful for the customer support she currently has in place, she would like to have more support from the African-American community.

A great way to meet her and check out her bookstore would be to come by Sat., Nov. 29 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. The anniversary celebration will feature G-Baby, an artist carrying a line of inspirational journals, planners and more.

“We have a lot planned so come on out! We will have entertainment, music, food and give-a-way,” Bailey boasted.

Reader’s Choice Book & Gift Store is located at 4341 34th St. S. in St. Pete, directly across the street from Wendy’s fast food restaurant. Their hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 10–6:30 p.m. Special arrangements can be made for Sunday events, by appointment only.

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