Back of Beyond Books owner Andy Nettell said the store has compiled a Holiday Gift Guide that is “chock full of wonderful books for everyone on your list.” The bookstore is also participating in the Books for Tots program giving books to local schools.

[Photo courtesy Andy Nettell]

Holiday shopping season is here and Andy Nettell has a recommendation: give books.

“Physical books are the perfect gift,” Nettell, owner of the local independent bookstore Back of Beyond Books, said. “They are portable and the battery never runs down; books are full of wisdom, humor, history, information and inspiration.”

He added, “You have the world in your hands when you’re reading.”

Back of Beyond Books is participating in Books for Tots, a program designed to get those miniature worlds-on-pages into the hands of local youth. The store has purchased 320 books selected by local school librarians and invites the community to come in and purchase a book to donate or drop off a donation which will be used to purchase books. The books will be presented to local schools in January.

Caryn McGinty, a librarian for Helen M. Knight Elementary in Moab, said Books for Tots has “really helped the school a lot” with books obtained through the program proving very popular with both kids and teachers.

McGinty said she enjoys selecting the books and this year she chose biographies as well as picture books, graphic novels, regular novels and nonfiction.

But as much as she enjoys picking the books out, McGinty said the best part is when the books are delivered in January and the children excitedly peruse the new reading materials, often wanting to check some out right away.

“It really is like Christmas,” she said.

Nettel pointed to community involvement like Books for Tots as a big reason for shoppers to make purchases from local businesses when possible.

“Locally owned stores support our local sports teams and our local nonprofits, and provide personal hands-on service to our customers,” he said. “Local businesses contribute to our tax base, unlike online retailers.”

For customers wanting to both shop locally and enjoy the convenience and pandemic-safety of shopping online, Back of Beyond Books sells books online via bookshop.org. There, they have assembled a Holiday Gift Guide that Nettel said is “chock full of wonderful books for everyone on your list.”

Nettell said his top recommendations of books to gift include the works of United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo including the anthology she edited titled “When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through,” which features nearly 100 Indigenous voices.

He also recommended the epic fantasy novel “Rhythm of War” by Brandon Sanderson and “Black Sun” from Navajo author Rebecca Roanhorse.

Nettell added that cookbook sales have “gone through the roof” during the pandemic, and Back of Beyond Books has a wide selection of “great books to tempt your palate.”

For kids, he said, there is a new “stunningly beautifully” illustrated edition of “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” plus the latest in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” saga. He also recommended Sophie Corrigan’s picture book “Pugtato,” which he called “a heartwarming story of friendship, compassion and self-confidence.”

And if your giftee may prefer to pick out their own books, Back of Beyond Books issues gift certificates in any amount.

Back of Beyond Books (83 N. Main St., Moab) is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a limit of six customers at a time inside the store; masks are required. Private shopping, free home delivery and curbside pickup are available and may be arranged by calling the bookstore at 435-259-5154. More information may be found at www.backofbeyondbooks.com.

Independent bookstore offers shopping options including online and curbside delivery

“You have the world in your hands when you’re reading.”

– Andy Nettell

When: Every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: 83 N. Main St., Moab

Contact: www.backofbeyondbooks.com or shop at www.bookshop.org/shop/backofbeyondbooks; 435-259-5154