|Magers & Quinn Booksellers - Minneapolis, MN|
Like many independent bookstores I've visited, this store had a life before books. It actually has been a few different businesses including a thrift store and back in the 1950s a Chevy dealership. Elliott Bay Books in Seattle was another indie I've visited that had a former life in the automobile world. But no other future lives here at Magers & Quinn. It's been thriving and surviving 20 years and the future looks great.
This is a very large and spacious one-level bookstore. When you first walk in you don't notice the size, but the place spreads out as you proceed through the store. The inventory includes new and used books and the shelves are floor to ceiling in many places. There is an active book buy-back program and the store offers cash or credits. If you're a regular customer, take the credits; you'll get more bang for your buck. Some indies don't have their used books on inventory but they do here. The entire space of the main level is duplicated in size on a lower level and serves as a great warehouse area for the store. In addition to the vast new book inventory, you can also find a variety of typical sidelines including book bags, t-shirts, and greeting cards, among other things. There is also a good sized collection of rare and collectable books.
I didn't get to meet Denny M., the owner, or his daughter Mary M., the manager, on this day but I did meet Conrad, a bookseller and buyer for the store and Sara. These two were fantastic to talk to and Conrad told me a lot about the store and the history and even gave me a quick tour. The sidelines are minimal and he told me that books do well here. Used books and remainders have really helped the success of this store. There is strong local support, a common characteristic of most indies, and it isn't too far from the University of Minnesota so they do attract some academics from that community (as an Iowan, this would be where I would insert a stereotypical joke about Minnesotans and academics, but I digress). The store has the size and inventory to be a destination for non-locals and does attract those customers. Like other successful indies, this store is active with author events and they are held on site or at other venues depending on the crowd and circumstances.
I spent a good deal of time sitting and reading in this store, hoping to meet Mary. It was during this time that others found out about my journey and they would tell me about other indies and that's what happened with Greg during my wait. Thanks to him, I've added about a dozen more indies to visit and naturally they're scattered all over the country. Heck, he even bought a copy of My Bookstore here, my unofficial guidebook. So my journey continues with many more destinations. I'm glad I didn't decide to do a blog about dentist offices. This one is much more fun. Winter's coming, Minnesota, and I've got just the place for you to stock up on some books. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
RECENTLY FINISHED: Fire Shut Up In My Bones, Charles M. Blow. Memoir of this NY Times columnist growing up in Louisiana in the 70s and 80s. Great story of all he overcame to arrive at his position today.
CURRENTLY READING: The Cuckoo's Calling, Robert Galbraith. Author is a pseudonym for J. K. Rowling who wrote the Harry Potter series. This is adult fiction.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: Butcher's Crossing, John Williams. Fat Boy vs. The Cheerleaders, Geoff Herbach. The title grabbed me.
|I was so anxious to get here I jay-walked right over!|
|What's wrong with this picture? Books displayed outside. In Minnesota. In November. Do the math!|
|View to the right as I enter the store.|
|Looking straight back through the store from the front door.|
|This is where I sat when Greg filled me in on all of the additional independent bookstores I need to visit.|
|Great selection of greeting cards.|
|One of the walls of books in the front of the store.|
|You're going to need a t-shirt to go with that book you'll buy.|
|These collectables are under $175. The expensive ones are upstairs in an office/display area.|
|One of the many aisles of books.|
|Can I get an "amen?" A great motto for every indie.|
|This area is in the back of the store. Looking for something specific? They can help you here!|
|Conrad signs, My Bookstore. He's also in charge of the used book inventory.|
|Here are more of the collectable books upstairs.|
|My view from that upstairs collectable book/office area looking down on the front of the store.|
|Conrad took a lot of time to talk to me about this terrific indie. Thanks for a great visit!|