Around Indies

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P.J. Boox Opens With Unique Business Model

P.J. Boox, a Fort Myers, Florida, bookstore that exclusively carries titles by self-published authors and small press publishers, held an open house on October 17 to celebrate its grand opening, reported. More than 25 authors mixed and mingled with readers, who enjoyed refreshments and prize drawings.

Founded by author and illustrator Patti Brassard Jefferson, P.J. Boox gives authors an opportunity to rent an author shelf to display their books — face-out — in the retail store and earn 100 percent of profits from these sales, minus debit and credit card fees. As a self-published author, Jefferson related to the challenges authors face when going through non-traditional publishing routes.

The shop showcases a variety of genres, including poetry, thrillers, romance, adventure, horror, and children’s books. P.J. Boox works directly with the author to acquire inventory, and authors can select from a number of paid packages to make their books available in store or online.

Greenlight Celebrates Sixth Anniversary, Best Bookstore Honor

October marks the sixth anniversary for Brooklyn, New York’s Greenlight Bookstore, which it celebrated during the weekend of October 17–18 by offering 20 percent off purchases as well as giveaways and prizes, reported Fort Greene Focus.

Greenlight was also recently named Best Bookstore of 2015 by the Village Voice, a popular, free weekly newspaper in New York City, which said the shop is “on its way to becoming a New York institution.”

Calling out Greenlight’s partnerships with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, St. Joseph’s College, and Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration in bringing local and renowned authors to Brooklyn for reading series and discussion groups, the Village Voice wrote, “That kind of dedication to playing an active role in a community, rather than that of just another ephemeral rental in a block of retail chains, makes Greenlight a truly special place, worthy of love in Brooklyn and way beyond.”

Tattered Cover’s Joyce Meskis Hailed as First Amendment Hero

The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition recognized Joyce Meskis, longtime owner of Denver’s Tattered Cover Book Store, as a lifelong First Amendment “hero” at a recent reception during the national Freedom of Information Summit in Denver.

Attorney Dan Recht, who represented Tattered Cover in a court case in 2002, called Meskis “a thoughtful, sensitive but strong, zealous, passionate advocate of the First Amendment and freedom of expression.”

The case resulted in readers having the right to purchase books anonymously and gave booksellers a guarantee to a hearing before having to turn over customers’ purchase records. In an earlier case, Tattered Cover successfully challenged a 1984 law that criminalized the sale of sexually oriented material to minors and the display of such material on newsstands.

In 2000, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition honored Meskis with the Jean Otto Friend of Freedom Award.

Books Connection Holds Grand Reopening

On October 14, Livonia, Michigan’s The Books Connection held a grand reopening celebration in its new home, three miles away from its previous location for the past 35 years, reported.

Owner Kathleen Mahinske cut the ribbon with the help of Mayor Jack Kirksey. “We’re excited about our new location, but we’re still offering the same combination of new and used books at 10 percent to 60 percent discounts,” said Mahinske.

“Livonia has been a great place to provide desirable books and meet thousands of wonderful people,” Mahinske added. “We are looking forward to continuing that tradition in our new location for many years to come.”

Brick and Mortar Series Spotlights Indie Booksellers

Through its Brick and Mortar series of audio interviews, 0s&1s, a digital bookstore, has profiled nine independent bookstore owners, who shared stories and insights about their bookstores, their histories in the book business, and more. The interviews were conducted during a cross-country road trip.

The series recently interviewed Robert Sindelar, vice president of ABA’s Board of Directors and managing partner of Third Place Books, which has locations in Lake Forest Park and Seattle, Washington; a third location will soon open in south Seattle.

In the interview, Sindelar discussed the history and growth of Third Place Books, as well as the importance of the indie bookstore experience. “Customer service has always been important in an independent bookstore, but now it’s essential,” he said. “You’re coming back because you’ve found good stuff on the shelves. We’ve enticed you in terms of our layout, in terms of our shelf-talkers. You should also be coming back because you had a good experience. You felt good about the interactions you had in the store, even if that was just the person ringing you up.”

The series has also interviewed the owners of The Book House in St. Louis, Missouri; Watermark Books & Café in Wichita, Kansas; The Morris Book Shop in Lexington, Kentucky; BooksOrBooks in Las Vegas, Nevada; Phinney Books in Seattle; Montana Valley Book Store in Alberton, Montana; and Book Zoo and Issues in Oakland.