Prairie Lights Bookstore, in my hometown Iowa City, is a legendary independent bookstore, with an enormous selection of books, an enthusiastic and smart staff, and an enviable reading series of up and comers and the well-established. (Now the store even has a wine bar!)
Though it’s not the same as stopping by the store, you can listen to a remarkable archive of readings by going here: http://at-lamp.its.uiowa.edu/virtualwu/index.php/archive/titles/C53/
And if you’re looking for reading recommendations, nothing compares to “Paul’s Corner,” a blog and videos with book buyer Paul Ingram. I can’t speak to the cyber experience, but I promise you that a single in-person conversation with Paul results in an armload of books you didn’t know that you absolutely have to read. His passion for good books is infectious.
(And, if you happen to be in downtown Iowa City, might as well take a little side trip over to Hamburg Inn, the best burger and milkshakes around. God, how I want one of those burgers right now….)
P.S. You can support the store by buying books online.