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The King’s English Brings Authors, Community, Puppies Together to Celebrate 40 Years

The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, celebrated its 40th birthday with a full day of events for the community on September 9.

“We had hundreds. The place was packed all day long. The day was phenomenal. People brought in flowers and notes. It was a really great day,” said Rob Eckman, marketing manager.

Co-owner Betsy Burton speaks at The King's English's 40th birthday party.
Co-owner Betsy Burton speaks at The King's English's 40th birthday party.

On hand were local authors Jean Reagan, whose new book is How to Get Your Teacher Ready (Knopf Books for Young Readers); Gabriel Tallent, who read from his new book, My Absolute Darling (Penguin Random House); and Dan Hanna, illustrator of The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

A highlight of the day was a creative art contest that invited the community to submit essays or art on the theme, “Once Upon a Time in a Bookstore.” The King’s English plans to compile the works into an anthology and hold a group book signing for contributors, Eckman said.

There was even a puppy parade organized with a dog groomer from across the street, who costumed one of the canines as a character from The Poky Little Puppy (Golden Books).

The store was founded by co-owner Betsy Burton, who is the ABA’s most recent past president. She told the Deseret News that the store’s longevity is due to its customer service and community, including holding hundreds of author events each year and delivering books to the homebound.

“We want customers when they come in to feel like they’ve been invited into somebody’s living room,” Burton told the Deseret News.

The Raven Book Store Marks 30 Years With Change in Ownership

The Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas, has a new owner just in time for its 30th anniversary in business this month.

All four owners of the Raven attended the store’s 30th anniversary party September 8. From left, Danny Caine (2017-present), Mary Lou Wright and Pat Kehde (1987-2008), and Heidi Raak (2008-2017).
All four owners of the Raven attended the store’s 30th anniversary party on September 8. From left: Danny Caine (2017-present), Mary Lou Wright and Pat Kehde (1987-2008), and Heidi Raak (2008-2017).

“This is my first bookstore. I just graduated with an MFA in poetry from the University of Kansas,” said Danny Caine, who moved to Lawrence in 2014 for graduate school and began working part time at the bookstore in 2015.

The previous owner, Heidi Raak, purchased the Raven a decade ago from original owners Pat Kehde and Mary Lou Wright, who opened with a focus on mysteries, leading to the store’s name. The moniker stuck, but the store has expanded to carry a wide array of titles.

“The store is beloved here,” Caine said. “There is a very strong community in Lawrence. I just want to keep providing for that community.”

In addition to updating some fixtures and furniture, Caine said he’d like to carry more political and activist titles and become a community resource. The first step is an open mic series featuring artists of color dubbed “Mic Supremacy.”

“I’m really interested in the bookstore as an activist or community space, but it’s really important to continue to serve the original mystery-loving audience who show up every time Louise Penny releases a book,” he said.

Books & Mortar Expanding in Grand Rapids

Books & Mortar in Grand Rapids, Michigan, announced this month that it is planning to open an additional store in the city that will be called Annex Paperie & Bookshop.

“We have signed a lease and are excited to bring you details and updates soon!” read an announcement on the store’s Facebook page.

Books & Mortar has created Instagram and Facebook pages for Annex and is inviting its customers to follow the news of the new opening.

Ann Patchett Speaks at Interabang Books’ Grand Opening

Interabang Books in Dallas held a grand opening party on September 11 that attracted about 400 booklovers as well as independent bookstore boosters and celebrated author Ann Patchett, who co-owns Nashville’s Parnassus Books with Karen Hayes.

“Ann Patchett was our guest of honor, and she spoke quite eloquently, as she always does, about independent bookstores and their role in the community,” said Interabang General Manager Jeremy Ellis.

The 5,000-square-foot store opened its doors on July 1.

HugoBooks Takes Over Café

HugoBooks has opened Café Magna next door to its Book Rack store in Newburyport, Massachusetts, according to a report in Shelf Awareness. It replaces an Atomic Café location. HugoBooks owners John Hugo and Catalina Cuervo own the building where the café is located and have offices and living quarters above.

HugoBooks also owns Cabot Street Books in Beverly, Spirit of ’76 in Marblehead, and Campus Collection and Andover Bookstore, both in Andover.

Blue Ridge Books Moving to New Spot

Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville, North Carolina, is moving to a livelier spot in town this fall with plans to be in the new store in November.

Co-owner Allison Lee told local newspaper The Mountaineer that she and co-owner Jo Gilley had been on the lookout for a site with more walking traffic. The Hazelwood Avenue location became available when a home brew beer and wine shop moved.

The new shop is too small to house the café contained in the current location, but the owners see that as an opportunity to partner with nearby businesses to hold larger author events.

“This is a business decision that will allow us to tap into some customers that we don’t see here. Most everyone who is local and our regular customers are thrilled,” Lee told The Mountaineer. “Hazelwood is becoming very popular and we feel like we’ll be a part of something really good and exciting, not on the edge of something.”