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Under the Cover bookstore uplifts local authors' voices, serves the community

Carley Morton, owner of Under the Cover
Posted at 5:20 PM, Nov 17, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Carley Morton buys a book, she reaches for a romance novel.

"Even if ... in the middle, there’s bad stuff happening, it always ends well, and it’s like that’s kinda a comfort," Morton said.

It's a comfort she wanted to share with others. That's why she opened Under the Cover, the first romance-novel shop of it's kind in Kansas City.

"The romance community is just like voracious for their books," Morton said.

Carley Morton, owner of Under the Cover

The store itself may look small, but its community is big.

"It's more of like an experience of going in, and like seeing people that love the same thing as you do, and like a sense of community," Morton said. "I think that’s what people want right now."

The spirit to support local is bigger.

"I wanna help local authors get in stores, because a lot of times, it doesn’t happen unless they’re like traditionally published," Morton said.

Kansas City author Sierra Simone sees Morton's mission and is on board.

"Small businesses give back so much more and they’re so invested in the city, and there’s a power to that, that I don’t think you can replicate through a big chain store," Simone said.

Her newest series, "A Merry Little Meet Cute," features characters from Kansas City who went to Olathe North High School.

"In a way, my books are little love letters to the metro, so to see it here is really special," Simone said.

Sierra Simone, local author

Morton's goal is to not only amplify local authors voices, but support her community, as well.

"You try to make it better than what you came into, so hopefully it will help at least a little bit," she said.

At Under the Cover's grand opening on Nov. 25, Morton is donating some of her proceeds to Literacy KC, a nonprofit located a few blocks down from her bookstore.

"They’re helping people ... get their GED's there," she said. "They help them actually learn to read, or all of this really great stuff. So, I think it’s really great to give back to where you are."

That's part of the magic of this indie bookshop: When you're buying a book from Under the Cover, you're buying into the community.

"And it’s fun to talk about books all day with lots of people," Morton said.