Around Indies

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Here’s what’s happening in the world of indie bookstores this week:


Bookie’s New and Used Books in Chicago is opening a second location, in Homewood, with a projected summer opening.

The Center for Fiction, located in New York City, is planning to open a new facility in Brooklyn that will feature a bookstore, in addition to a café, a library, classrooms, and an auditorium.

Canterbury Book Store in Escanaba, Michigan, has welcomed new owners, Jesse Traub and Rebecca Bender. On June 2, the new owners will hold a grand opening celebration and are inviting the entire community to join.

Books Are Magic celebrated its first birthday on May 1 with 37 pounds of cake, eaten with the help of about 100 Colson Whitehead fans and the author. “The store is exactly what I imagined it could be — full of readers and families every day, full of brilliant authors every night. It’s a total dream, brought to life by my husband and our incredible staff, and the next time you walk in, give whoever is at the desk a high five. What a year it has been!” owner Emma Straub wrote in a recent newsletter.

Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, California, is turning 25 years old. The store opened on May 8, 1993, and will celebrate with more than 20 authors as well as cake during an all-day bash on Saturday, May 12. “We believe books matter. And we believe booksellers matter. Mysterious Galaxy could not have achieved this landmark without sharing the magic of books via the power of community, from authors and other industry professional to readers,” said Events Coordinator Maryelizabeth Yturralde.

Sarah Hines, Eileen Miskell, and Mary Fran Buckley, the owners of Eight Cousins in Falmouth, Massachusetts, which recently reopened after a plumbing issue damaged the store, have been nominated by Cape Cod & the Islands SCORE as the Small Business Owner of the Year.

Maria’s Bookshop, which is celebrating its 34th year on Main Avenue in Durango, Colorado, is up for sale. Longtime owners Peter Schertz and Andrea Avantaggio, who have been at the helm for 20 years, said the store completed its best year ever in 2017.

An employee of the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has started a petition to urge Moravian College to forego plans to give Barnes & Noble College management of the store this summer. At publication time, the petition had garnered more than 24,000 signatures.

Reading Bug subscription box
Reading Bug subscription box

Lauren Savage of The Reading Bug in San Carlos, California, talked to Geekwire about the store’s personalized subscription box (which has more than 1,000 nationwide subscribers), following Amazon’s announcement of a new book subscription service.

In a recent interview as part of a series profiles of the businesses nominated for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Small Business Award, Sarah Bagby, owner of Watermark Books & Café in Wichita, Kansas, talked about life at the helm of an independent bookstore. “We’re known around here for bringing in big names, but in the industry, we’re known for building authors, helping them get on the map,” Bagby said.

John Evans, co-owner of DIESEL, A Bookstore in Larkspur and Santa Monica, California, recently talked to Voyage LA about what drew him to bookselling and the experience of owning a bookstore. “A bookstore is part school, part party, part counseling center, and part creative workshop. It’s street theater at its best. It is fun, moving, challenging, complex, and deeply rewarding work,” he said.

Literati Bookstore was featured on NBC Nightly News for the store’s public typewriter, which has been used to type thousands of messages over the years that are now featured in a new book, Notes from a Public Typewriter (Grand Central).

Despite the rainy day, this year’s Seattle Independent Bookstore Day set a record of 500 “Bookstore Champions,” those people who visited all 19 participating Seattle area stores during the April 28 event. Six hundred people (and counting) made it to between three and 18 of the participating stores. All of the Champions have been invited to Third Place Books Seward Park on May 20 for a congratulatory celebration and to receive their 25 percent discount coupon, good for use at all 19 stores for one year.

As part of the Book Lover Quest for Independent Bookstores, avid reader Alexia Dawson visited 44 independent bookstores in Northern California in April, for which she was awarded a library of books hand-selected by booksellers worth $1,000.

Casa Camino Real in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is holding a pop-up book and art sale May 18–20 on the Downtown Mall. Proceeds will benefit the Museo de La Gente/Museum of the People, a project of owner Denise Chávez and her husband, photographer Daniel Zolinsky. The couple has a collection of Southwestern and Latinx literature, as well as photography and photography books, that will become part of the interactive museum, art space, and archival center.

Elizabethan Garden’s Derby Day
Elizabethan Garden’s Derby Day

North Carolina author Kristy Woodson Harvey (The Secret to Southern Charm, Gallery) visited Downtown Books in Manteo and Duck’s Cottage in Duck and completed her tour as the VIP at the Elizabethan Garden’s Derby Day party alongside Downtown Books owner Jamie Hope Anderson and bookseller Evan Tillett. The threes chose to use their “horse bucks” to bet on Noble Indy, who sadly did not place, but were cheered that the horse named Audible did not win.

Catie Damon, daughter of Browser Books owner Stephen Damon, wrote a piece about growing up at the San Francisco literary landmark.

Bustle featured “9 Nonprofit and Collective Bookstores That Every Book-Lover Needs to Visit and Support,” including Charis Books & More in Atlanta.

NEXTpittsburgh’s “6 indie bookstores you’ll love, all thriving in Pittsburgh” included ABA members White Whale Bookstore, Riverstone Books, Classic Lines, Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, and Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont.

The article “Columbus Bookstores Have Independent Spirit” talked with the owners of Gramercy Books in Bexley and Two Dollar Radio in Columbus, as well as ABA CEO Oren Teicher.

Share your news in Around Indies! E-mail [email protected] with photos and details of what’s new at your store, whether it’s opening for business, moving to a new location, expanding, changing ownership, hosting a special event, or celebrating a milestone anniversary.