E-Books and Amazon.com may spell the demise of the publishing industry, but Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, named “Best Bookstore” yet again by “2013 Best of East Valley Voters, continues to thrive.

“We never stop,” said Gayle Shanks, owner of Changing Hands Bookstore. “We always want the next award.”

This year’s honor validates that the nearly 40-year-old bookstore’s work provides meaning to the community, Shanks said. Much of Changing Hands Bookstore’s success starts with a creative 35-person staff and a passion to keep books and reading alive.

Faith Hochhalter, children’s book specialist at Changing Hands, said that the support of the community and the incredible staff are the main reasons that she likes to work at the store.

“We do such wonderful events for the community,” Hochhalter said

Morning meetings with the staff help to develop new ways for customers to interact with books, Shanks said.

Changing Hands has found ways to get customers to visit the store and stay longer.

The stores hosts between 300 and 350 events each year, Shanks said. Events can range from activities for children to authors visiting.

Audiences for store events can also range from 15 people to 4,500 people, Shanks said.

An open entranceway between Wildflower Bread Company and 13,000 square-foot bookstore allows people to spend more time at the bookstore, Shanks said. Customers can grab a cup of coffee and a muffin while perusing the latest book selection.

The partnership has been a financial success, Shanks said.

Most recently, Changing Hands has set its eyes on opening a second location in Phoenix.

“I felt it was time for Phoenix to have a real bookstore again,” Shanks said.

Location: 6428 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe

Information: (480) 730-0205 or changinghands.com

Honorable Mention: Barnes and Noble (Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa); Bookmans (Mesa)

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