Janet Geddis opened Avid Bookshop in 2011 on Prince Avenue and opened another location in Five Points in 2016. Over the years, Avid Bookshop has grown to become a staple in the Athens community and was even named one of the top 5 bookshops in the U.S. by Publisher's Weekly.Her business even landed in the Bulldog 100, which celebrates Dawgs on top by recognizing the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni each year, four times. Today, this cozy bookshop continues to thrive having book signings, events, and providing a wide range of stories to the Athens community.

*In December 2019, the Avid Bookshop location on Prince Avenue closed its doors. Now only the Five points location remains open. 


I was a baby-sitter and a nanny and after school tutor and I worked for the library and the homeless-education department like I did all these things cobbling together. Jobs, but nothing felt like a career and I remember telling friends I want to have the kind of job where I wake up and I’m excited to go to work.

I spent several years visiting other bookstores, volunteering to do these community internships. I was learning everything from scratch. I was completely naïve about it I had never worked retail and I have never worked in a bookstore.

I’d got a lot of help but I essentially was designing my own curriculum for how to start a bookstore. So, there are a lot of things that I see is it’s my duty as a business owner and what it is, is to give back to the community. We do thousands and thousands of dollars of in-kind donations each year.

We volunteer a lot. I want everyone to feel comfortable here. You don’t have to necessarily want every book that’s on our shelves in order to feel comfortable here.

We are always trying to reflect the community and what our specific neighborhood needs…but we try to stock books that reflect people’s experiences and also sort of a little beyond. So, you’re here we’re going to hold your hand through this book and then why don’t you try the next step up. Why don’t you try this idea?

And it’s not about pushing an agenda in the least it's more like this world is amazing and beautiful and there are books that reflect the diversity of where we live, and the more you read the more, studies show this and our experience shows this that you are more understanding and patient with other people.

You do understand that you can’t begin to imagine what someone else is going through and if you read a book about it you might be able to get a little more closer and exercise more compassion and empathy.  

So, I think, I mean reading is the key to everything in my opinion.

Athens is like this magical creative enclave where when you tell someone that you have some sort of creative venture that automatic answer or response is usually not like well where are you showing it or what have you published. It's more like, Oh, cool man I do this. There is something really great and I think the music community has a lot to do with it.

And now we have a thriving art community and it’s just this town marked with creative, inventive, smart people who really want the world to be a better place and we’re starting with Athens.