Litarary treasures abound in Macon

Our generation often falls prey to the impulse of judging a book by its cover. The same judgment could also be passed on to bookstores themselves. Many people stick with the familiar chain companies, such as Barnes and Noble or Books-A-Million, out of convenience and notoriety. An avid reader, however, might jump at the opportunity to browse new shelves. Perhaps they are just unaware of locally-owned businesses, selling quality books for less.
There are two such literary treasures in the Macon area, not far from Mercer’s campus. The first is Golden Bough Bookstore, an independently-owned business in the heart of downtown Macon. The store first opened in 1989 but was purchased in February 2007 by Eric Wakefield, an employee in the business for a decade as well as a Mercer graduate with a degree in art.
This diamond in the rough provides a rugged atmosphere that makes the avid reader feel as if they have stepped into a story of their own.
Upon entering the store, customers will often be greeted by Titan, a friendly orange tabby cat. The interior decorations don’t cater to any crowd in particular. Its intimate size and mismatched shelves, combined with the musky smell of old books, are just a few things that separate it from the modern atmosphere of many chain bookstores.
While browsing the books, you might find a few more feline friends lounging around for their seventh nap of the day.
Adorning the walls are various works of art, some of which were painted by Wakefield himself. Golden Bough carries a broad stock of books, new and used, covering a variety of subjects and genres for affordable prices. “Buy low, sell low. That’s my philosophy,” said Wakefield.
Wakefield buys most of his books used, but customers can order a book that isn’t in stock. Wakefield admitted that he normally avoids textbook sales, but if a student needs to order a textbook, that service is also available. Golden Bough is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 and is well worth the visit.
A little farther off campus is Gottwals Books at 3780 Northside Drive. Founded in 2007 by Shane and Abbey Gottwals, this bookstore creates a completely different ambience and carries a wide range of genres for all age groups.
The store promotes a clean, family friendly environment. The original location is in Warner Robins, but it quickly grew into a franchise and now there are three other locations across middle Georgia.
Shane Gottwal shared his goal for starting the bookstore: “I had recently received an English degree and my wife had gotten a business degree back in 2006 from Mercer. There are few options for combining those two skill sets. A bookstore seemed to be the best fit. There was a great need for a secondhand bookstore in middle Georgia. Our goal was to create a family-friendly environment with books for all ages. We’ve been very successful with that.”
Their prices are incredibly fair, and they have a handy trading system for store credit. If a customer brings in books to evaluate and trade in, they can receive up to 50% off a purchase. This includes buying textbooks for cash. “We are very competitive with buyback amounts, and we often purchase books that the campus bookstores do not accept,” says Gottwal. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
If you are looking to appease your inner bookworm with a new adventure, a visit to these local gems is well worth your while.