|Literati Bookstore - Ann Arbor, MI|
There are many independent bookstores around the country with long and storied histories. Some deep in tradition, some in business for decades, some owned within families for generations. These independents have carved the way and set the example for a new wave of bookstores. Enter Literati Books of Ann Arbor. It's a baby, only 16 months old. It remains to be seen if it will become one of those storied or legendary bookstores. But if the first 16 months are any indication it is off to a terrific start. I think it's fantastic to be able to talk about the opening of an indie instead of sadly noting the closing of an independent bookstore.
A person today does not go into the bookstore business without having their eyes wide open. The owners here, Mike and Hilary, have done their homework before opening their store. Hilary has a background in publishing so she has been around the business and has most likely seen good and bad examples of independent bookstores. It's obvious that she has put that expertise to good use here at Literati. This two-level independent has a good, diverse inventory of books, reflective of the differing tastes and backgrounds of the staff members. There are a few sidelines but not many. They have greeting cards designed by local artists as well as t-shirts and bookbags, to name a few. They're active with author visits and those events are held on the lower level. It's also a plus here that the University of Michigan has a great MFA program. Participants in this program are often featured here at author events, a great advantage for this indie. There is also a functional manual typewriter on the lower level where customers can type out a message and maybe see it posted in the store.
I didn't get to meet Mike and Hilary on this visit but I did meet the fine manager here, Jeanne, and Sharon, one of the staffers. I'm always grateful when a manager or owner takes time to talk to me during my visits. After all, I really am nothing more than an ordinary book customer. On this visit, Jeanne could not have been more generous with her time or more accommodating. It was very interesting to hear from her about the start of this business and how well things are going so far. The customer base includes many from the university community, professors and students as well as many involved in the MFA program. Even though the store is located in downtown Ann Arbor, there is also some good business from out of town customers.
There is not a live cat in this bookstore (well, not a dead one either), so what does this indie have that others might not? Typewriters. No batteries to recharge, no cords to plug in, no wifi to access. Children, this is how we used to write books. So when you visit this indie, go to the typewriter downstairs. Figure out how to put the paper in and type out a message. One customer even typed out a marriage proposal. This indie is off to a great start and the best is yet to come. I'm pretty sure I know what I would type on that typewriter. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
CURRENTLY READING: The Martian, Andy Weir. It's growing on me.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: A Tale For The Time Being, Ruth Ozeki
|View of the main level upon entering. Astute readers may notice a celebrity doing some book browsing. Yes, that's my mom.|
|I really like the t-shrits here.|
|View along the wall to the right upon entering.|
|A straight shot back on the main level and notice the celebrity is continuing to browse this fine bookstore.|
|Always like seeing the staff picks.|
|And another staff pick display.|
|I'm always looking for a chair to try out a book.|
|A very active schedule of events at this indie.|
|This is along the wall beside the stairway on the way down to the lower level. Nice use of space.|
|The theme at this indie is typewriters and this is the one that any customer can use. If they can figure out how to put the paper in.|
|A great lower level.|
|This area on the lower level is used for in-store author events. There really is good space here after rearranging the shelves in the middle.|
|The kind of cat that won't set off my allergies.|
|Greeting cards designed by local artists.|
|More t-shirts and magazines.|
|Sharon on the left and Jeanne on the right. Hey, Hilary & Mike, these two are keepers! Consider giving them generous raises!|