Prairie Lights recognized as top independent bookstore in the U.S. by Forbes magazine


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An Iowa City staple has been recognized by *Forbes* magazine as a thriving independent, brick-and-mortar bookstore.

In a June 6 column by Forbes contributor Julie Pham, Prairie Lights, 15 S. Dubuque St., is noted for going beyond the literary levels of average bookstores. By attracting renowned writers by way of the University of Iowa and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and repositioning itself, Pham writes that the bookstore’s has a “unique customer experience” clearer than ever before.

“These vital places offer an experience that exclusively online retailers cannot: book lovers can surround themselves with beautiful displays of traditional print books curated to local preference and find refuge in just being in each other’s presence, even when no words are spoken,” she wrote in the column. “Prairie Lights may never be able to reach masses of people outside its South Dubuque Street home, but it manages to thrive through the support of its loyal customer base that cannot imagine life without it.”

Since opening in 1978, Prairie Lights has been recognized for hosting weekly author readings in its “Live at Prairie Lights” series. The bookstore moved to its current Dubuque Street home in 1982, and today, it occupies three and a half floors, including an in-house coffee shop, the Times Club.

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