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Zandbroz Variety Marks 25 Years

Zandbroz Variety is celebrating more than 25 years in business in the Dakotas, reported the West Fargo Pioneer. The store first opened in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1989 under the ownership of Greg Danz and his brother, Jeff; a location in downtown Fargo, North Dakota, opened in 1991.

“We just did all the things we liked and we tried to put together things we thought complemented each other,” Greg Danz said in reference to the stores’ inventory, which includes books, pens, jewelry, and home décor.

Now, Greg, his wife, Renee, and their daughter, Josie, operate Zandbroz, and Greg has hopes that Josie will one day take over the business, he told the Pioneer.

Book sales have been strong at the store for the past three years, Josie Danz said. “I think people had this fear that books were going to go away with the e-readers and the Nooks and the Kindles,” she said. “No. For us, it’s only gotten stronger.”

Afterwords Books to Swap Buildings With Bailey Cakes

This week, Afterwords Books in Edwardsville, Illinois, will swap spaces with Bailey Cakes, reported the Belleville News-Democrat. The bookstore and the bakery are located across from one another on Vandalia Street.

While this is the third move in five years for Afterwords Books, owner LuAnn Locke, who bought the store in 2011, said the new space will be the bookshop’s forever home, since she bought the building. “This is it,” she said. “This location is going to have to work, because I don’t have it in me to move again.”

Afterwords, which will close for the move on January 7 and reopen January 14, will feature much of the same inventory and events in its new location. “It’s not really a game-changer,” said Locke. “We will continue to host our book clubs, documentary club, our weekly story times.”

“I’m not excited about moving again, but I am excited to be putting down roots, to buy a building and not renting anymore,” Locke said. “Hopefully people will see it as our commitment to the community ... We are here to stay. We’re not going anywhere.”

Laura Lynch founded Bailey Cakes in 2013 and had been looking for a location that would allow her family to live above the bakery. Lynch bought the bookstore’s building, the Hotz House, from the landlord, and Locke purchased the bakery’s building, the Wheeler House, from Lynch.

R.J. Julia Launches “Just the Right Book!” Podcast

Madison, Connecticut’s R.J. Julia Booksellers has launched the “Just the Right Book!” podcast, reported the New Haven Register. The weekly 30-45 minute podcast, coordinated with CRN International, a radio marketing and promotions company, features book recommendations, news from the bookselling and literary worlds, and interviews with authors such as Amy Bloom, James Patterson, Maria Semple, Jacques Pepin, Carly Simon, and George Saunders.

CRN International teamed with R.J. Julia owner Roxanne Coady on the podcast because of Coady’s reputation in the industry. “Because of who (Coady) is and this being her 26th year in business, she has made the kinds of connections with publishers and authors, and she gets a lot of advanced copies for books and sometimes her comments on them can really make or break them,” said Jim Alkon, marketing director for CRN.

Coady, who opened the bookstore in 1989, is also the founder of the Just the Right Book personalized book-of-the-month club. In November, R.J. Julia announced that it will operate the new Wesleyan University bookstore in Middletown, Connecticut. The 12,000-square-foot store is scheduled to open in May.

Wild Fig’s Crystal Wilkinson Among Top 50 Southerners of the Year

Southern Living magazine has named Crystal Wilkinson, owner of Wild Fig Books & Coffee in Lexington, Kentucky, one of its 50 Southerners of the Year. The honor recognizes the people moving the South forward with groundbreaking projects and innovative ideas.

While at first glance the bookstore may look like any other indie, wrote Southern Living, “inside it’s become something of a town hall where just as many discussions are had over a new bestseller as about gentrification, race relations, and city issues.” The magazine also recognized the bookstore’s regular salons as venues for the community to come together.

Wilkinson is also the author of The Birds of Opulence (University Press of Kentucky), which won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence in 2016.