'Go Set a Watchman' brings big business to book stores like Rainy Day Books

FAIRWAY, Kan. - At Rainy Day Books, this day is anything but gloomy.

Harper Lee’s new novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” is a ray of hope that great days in the book store business are still ahead.

"We've taken the most pre-orders for this book since Harry Potter," said Rainy Day Books owner Vivien Jennings.

The Fairway book store ordered several hundred copies of Lee’s second published novel.

"I love to see excitement generated about reading and what a great experience it can be to read an interesting book, a thoughtful book, or just a fun book," said Jennings.

Jennings opened the store 40 years ago. Since then, she's watched several of her competitors close their doors.

"We not only have to work harder but we have to work smarter. And I think we're doing both of those things," said Jennings.

In the age of e-books, some readers stay away from stores that sell real books.

"If it's a business where you want to make a lot of money, this is not the business," said Jennings.

But today many of those customers are back, to get their hands on a physical copy of the novel.

"This is one of those books that has an emotional connection and usually when there's an emotional connection, the real book, the organic book we call it; there's just a part of that you don't want anything between you and that experience," said Jennings.

This week, there's plenty of sunshine at Rainy Day Books.


Jennings read "Go Set a Watchman" from front to back.  Here's her review of Harper Lee's controversial novel, which features a now adult Scout, and a racist Atticus Finch.

"People have to understand that this is a different perspective. So the perspective you have as a child of your parent is very different than the perspective you have when you're an adult and they're an adult. So if people remember that, I think they'll connect to it in a different way, because as a child your parent is kind of a god sometimes and so as an adult you see more of the truth which is ok."

Watch the video below for Jennings' full review in the video player above. 


Justin Wilfon can be reached at justin.wilfon@kshb.com.

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