Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Ernest and Hadley Booksellers opens in Tuscaloosa


A new, locally-owned bookstore has flung its doors open wide. Set in a cozy cottage on 7th Street, Ernest and Hadley Booksellers offers a wide variety of books and caters to diverse tastes.

Ernest and Hadley Booksellers was born from the idea that all quality books, whether topping the New York Times Bestseller List or not, deserve to have a place on bookstore shelves and in the hands of an interested reader. This philosophy becomes apparent to anyone who cares to slip inside and take a look.

“It’s different from big-name bookstores because of its small, homey feel and the unique genre selections,” said Olivia Gevedon, a UA freshman majoring in biology who was found perusing the store. “Plus, it’s obvious that the owners have a true passion for books and the business.”

Mother-daughter duo and owners Easty Lambert-Brown and Avery Leopard strive to shape the store into a perfect fit for the Tuscaloosa community. They value book recommendations from customers, host book clubs for avid readers and assist local writers in their ambitions of selling their work to the public.

Ernest and Hadley Booksellers, named after the famous Ernest Hemingway and his wife, is flooded with natural light and is decorated with an eclectic mix of refurbished furniture the owners chose themselves to create a comfortable, bookish vibe. However, the literature lining the shelves is what really gives the store its personality. 

“We’ve found that even though it’s small, there is usually something for everybody because we have very carefully curated it for this community,” Lambert-Brown said. “These books may not work in another community. It’s just something that we’ve pulled together because of what we have gleaned from how people think and learn.”

The owners are so devoted to morphing the business into something completely compatible with the Tuscaloosa community, one wall in the store is taken up by a large chalkboard that serves as a way for shoppers to suggest books that they do not already see on the shelves. Additionally, if you are looking for something in particular, they will order books for you upon request. Orders typically arrive within a couple of days.

Ernest and Hadley also hosts a variety of book clubs.

“They all have different interests, so no two are alike,” Lambert-Brown said. “They tell us what they want to read, and we order the books for them and give them a 20 percent discount. And, we don’t charge them for the space.”

There are different literary flavors for each book club, Leopard said.

“Some groups choose books as a relaxing escape, and some choose some pretty heavy subject matter,” she said. 

Ernest and Hadley also plans to host poetry readings and other events related to local art. They endeavor to assist local artists in whatever way they can, whether their craft is prose, poetry, or paint. Each month, they hang the works of a different, local artist in their hall and sell his/her prints. The store does not charge to sell the art; rather, it takes 10 percent commission from what it sells.

In addition to aiding those involved with the visual arts, Ernest and Hadley is passionate about helping aspiring authors get their work into the hands of readers.

“When local authors come in here, we look at a couple of things: Is it shelf ready? Has it been copy edited? Those are the two sort of stipulations,” Leopard said. “It has to be ready for the shelves. But, just as we like receiving constructive feedback and constructive criticism, we really want to help people sell, even if it’s not quite there yet. It’s not that it won’t be. There are just a couple little things that need to happen. There are some really incredible writers in this town that we had no idea even existed. A ton.”

Looking around the store, it is clear that Ernest and Hadley Booksellers is fervent about suiting their audience and helping Tuscaloosa-grown art to thrive.

If you are looking for a new read, a book club, a way to support local business, or just a quiet place to soak in some culture, head to Ernest and Hadley Booksellers at 1928 7th Street.

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