Nightbird Books closes, leaves niche open in community

This is the end of an era for more than one Fayetteville tradition, and the beginning for quite a few, too. After 14 years in business, Nightbird Books, an independent local bookseller, is closing. Feb. 29 from 1 to 4 p.m. is their Goodbye Party. Hopefully, you were able to stop in during these past several weeks and grab a book on sale. Depending on when you read this edition of The Free Weekly, they may already be gone, but not forgotten.

In this case, the business didn’t fail (as many have assumed); it’s simply time to say goodbye. Nightbird Books was a community space for free events like discussion groups, local author fairs, small craft fairs, book readings and signings, speakers, meetings and more. What great memories they’ve given the community! The owner, Lisa Sharp, could often be seen at the library in collaboration with an author event in the Walker Community Room. She worked tirelessly to provide our local area with a funky, fun reading nook.

They offered so much to people seeking a more personal experience or book recommendation. As a greeting card artist, I benefited from selling cards there next to many other local artists who can’t easily get art into larger chains. It brought a market to the public for authors who aren’t famous, but locally important for their contribution to genres like history or fiction. As the name suggests, Nightbird included birds! Doves raised a family right before your bibliophile eyes, and rainbow-colored birds chirped for your reading soundtrack. It was a great place to find children’s books, seasonal selections, indie best books, or to order a gift for someone.

Local businesses are the economic backbone of a community, keeping tax dollars local. Independent local bookstores not only provide jobs (like many chains also do) but they promote literacy, community and support local authors and illustrators. They are a more “personal” small-scale way to buy a book, compared to alternatives like Amazon. There’s value in saving time and money by shopping online, but there’s value in saving community, too. Independent, locally owned booksellers create a space that Amazon can’t.

Nightbird may be gone, but sure enough, there are other local businesses that still exist (and perhaps a new local bookstore will open someday soon). Dickson Street Bookshop, renowned for its size and a fantastic spot for finding old or used books, is still open. Find a local store you love and contribute as often as possible to that ecosystem of community and economy. Or maybe this is your chance to fill a niche and open a bookshop! Perhaps one with rabbits called “Books and Bunnies.” Eureka Springs’ “working bunnies” in various stores definitely have crowd appeal!

Amanda Bancroft is a writer, artist, and naturalist living in an off-grid tiny house on Kessler Mountain. She and her husband Ryan blog about their adventures and offer tips to those wanting to make a difference at

Categories: Making Ripples