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Books and Crannies Opens in Virginia

Martinsville, Virginia’s Books and Crannies held a grand opening celebration on September 20, 10 days ahead of owner Deshanta Hairston’s goal, reported the Martinsville Bulletin.

Hairston completed an eight-week course with Startup Martinsville, during which she composed a business plan and earned a $12,715 startup grant for her business. “After they announced the winners, it was all about putting the plan into action,” Hairston said.

The bookstore carries new and used books of all genres, but Hairston said young adult fiction holds a particular interest for her. The store also allows customers to trade titles. “If you bring in a used book in good condition, you can take home a used book in good condition. Or you can have store credit,” Hairston told the Bulletin.

Hairston also plans to launch community activities, such as a book club and a children’s story time.

Milkweed Books Holds Grand Opening

Milkweed Books, a nonprofit bookstore owned by independent publisher Milkweed Editions, opened in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday, September 20. The event kicked off with an open house and a visit from author Deni Ellis Béchard, whose book Into the Sun was published by Milkweed this month.

The bookstore, located in the three-story Open Book building, which houses Milkweed Edition’s offices, the Loft Literary Center, and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, carries books from Milkweed Editions alongside titles from a variety of other publishers. The store is managed by Hans Weyandt.

Let’s Play Books! Grows, Goes General-Interest

Emmaus, Pennsylvania’s Let’s Play Books! has moved into a larger storefront on Main Street and is expanding its inventory to include general-interest books, reported the Morning Call.

The bookstore, owned by Kirsten Hess, opened as a children’s only bookstore in 2014. The new shop, which is just two blocks away, is more than three times the size of the original store and will have three levels of books.

A grand reopening celebration planned for the weekend of September 24–25 will feature author events with Paul Acampora, Kelly Barnhill, Bob McLeod, and Jennifer Hasen Rolli; cupcakes from Sugar So Sweet bakery; bubble making in the store’s yard; and story times.

Spellbound Debuts Kids’ Reading Room

Spellbound Children’s Bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, celebrated the grand opening of its new baby room, a dedicated space for babies and toddlers, with a baby shower-themed party on September 17.

The event featured a special visit by the Italian Cookie Lady, who gave lessons on making and decorating cake pops, and local Sheriff Van Duncan, who was a guest reader. Customers could also enter to win a Curious George gift basket.

A Room of One’s Own Explores Co-op Model

Sandi Torkildson and Nancy Geary, who previously announced their intention to sell Madison, Wisconsin’s A Room of One’s Own, are now considering shifting the store to a cooperative model, reported Isthmus.

Torkildson said that nearly 20 people suggested turning the store into a cooperative. “A bookstore is an institution that many cities really want to have,” she said. “[A cooperative] is a way for the community to invest in that and make sure it’s there for the long run. It’s not a high profit business but it adds so much to the life of the community that people are willing to invest in it to keep it going.” 

The owners are simply exploring the idea at the moment, she added. A September 20 meeting was held for interested parties to discuss the idea and learn about different types of cooperatives.

Books & Books’ Mitchell Kaplan Honored With ArtesMiami Lydia Cabrera Award

Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books in South Florida and co-founder of Miami Book Fair International, will be presented with the 2016 ArtesMiami Lydia Cabrera Award at an October 14 luncheon sponsored by U.S. Century Bank, one of the country’s top Hispanic-owned community banks.

The award is named in memory of Lydia Cabrera, a writer and expert in Afro-Cuban culture, and recognizes those who have made notable contributions to the cultural development of South Florida. It comes with a $1,000 cash prize and a piece of ceramic artwork by Miami artist Rodrigo de la Luz.

“Mitchell Kaplan has dedicated his life to keeping alive the literature and culture of our community and nation,” said Aida Levitan, Ph.D., ArtesMiami founder and president. “Thanks to his vision and his passion for the arts, Kaplan has enabled South Florida writers and artists to shine at Books & Books and the Miami Book Fair International. We especially want to thank him for his support of many Hispanic poets and writers who have been invited to present their works at his bookstore.”

Kaplan commented, “I am very pleased to receive this recognition from ArtesMiami and to be the first non-Hispanic award recipient. I love this community, where I was born and raised, and its multicultural richness. What we have done at Books and Books is to give back to all the many who support our independent bookstores. I thank ArtesMiami for this great honor, which places me in very good company.”

Scuppernong’s “Ask a Muslim Anything” Events Spark Conversation

In Greensboro, North Carolina, Scuppernong Books is giving customers a chance to have conversations with those of the Islamic faith through regular “Ask a Muslim Anything” events, reported WGHP.

Bookstore co-owner Steve Mitchell launched the series last fall with the help of Deonna Kelli Sayed, a Muslim friend. “What we really wanted to do was give you a chance to just have a conversation with Muslims in our community,” he said.

Some conversations have gotten heated, added Mitchell, due to differences of opinion, but “we’ve never really had someone who was just here to be confrontational.”

During a recent “Ask a Muslim Anything” session, Wasif Quereshi fielded questions from attendees. “The toughest question that I think I was ever asked is why does Islam have such an intolerance of Christianity,” said Qureshi. “And my answer was very simple: that we don’t, that we actually prescribe to the same patriarch and the patriarch is Abraham.”