The Newspaper Book Shop is located in downtown Benton, TN inside the office of the Polk County News, the weekly community newspaper for Polk County since 1883. The book shop features art and other handcrafts produced by local residents including pottery, watercolors, photography, purses, jewelry, candles, soaps, aromatherapy, bags crocheted from grocery bags as well as local honey. There are also pieces of art from Torch Artist Danny Hoskinson (The Bucketman) that are on display for viewing but not for sale. Branching out into the musical arts and poetry, the book shop will start offering a weekly acoustic open mic night every Thursday beginning September 1st.
Utilizing the files of the Polk County News, the bookshop offers historical and genealogical information, community histories and a wide variety of heritage photo reprints including old school groups, church groups, buildings, copper mining and more. Books from local authors, books of regional interest and used books are also available.
Visitors are frequently surprised at the unique atmosphere and variety of offerings inside The Newspaper Book Shop, often only expecting to find a run-of-the-mill newspaper office. The book shop, with free wifi available, has become a popular spot for residents who are unable to get high-speed internet to their rural locations. Tables and chairs, a counter and an antique desk are available for anyone who wishes to sit with a laptop or peruse notebooks filled with information on the heritage of the area, look at old newspapers or enjoy a cup of freshly ground coffee, a latte or cappucino. Fresh-baked pastries from Jean's Bakery in Etowah, TN are also available.
An outside courtyard features a mural painted by students from Chilhowee Middle School depicting quilts inspired by local quilters hanging on a line. An 8'x8' quilt square indicating the book shop's inclusion in the Appalachian Quilt Trail also adorns the outside of the building, which was originally built around 1900 out of locally hand-made bricks, which are visible on an inside wall. Next to The Newspaper Book Shop is The Drug Store, housed in the oldest building in the county. Across the street is the historic Polk County Courthouse.