Minnesota Bookstores Plan “Indie Bound ’Round” Shop Hop

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Jennifer Wills Geraedts, manager of Beagle Books & Bindery, is taking advantage of the recent trend in bookstore tourism to join with other Northern Minnesota booksellers in creating the “Indie Bound ’Round” shop hop, to take place in August.

Inspired by educational sessions developed by the American Booksellers Association and the Midwest Booksellers Association, Jennifer Wills Geraedts, manager of Beagle Books & Bindery in Park Rapids, Minnesota, decided to take advantage of the recent trend in bookstore tourism.

Based on an idea popular among quilt stores, Wills Geraedts developed a “shop hop” for bookstores. From August 18 - 21, she’ll join with four other northern Minnesota bookstores — Sister Wolf Books & Coffee in Park Rapids, Turtle Town Books in Brainerd, Cherry Street Books in Alexandria, and Bookin’ It in Little Falls — to host events for store tour participants. Since all the stores are part of the IndieBound movement, Wills Geraedts named the tour “Indie Bound ’Round,” and she’ll use the opportunity to educate customers about the effects of shopping independently, with the intent that, in addition to shopping at her store, they’ll become familiar with other locally owned businesses in the area.

“Our hope is really to make people more aware of indie bookstores and their importance,” she said. “I’m hoping some of my regular customers will participate and think, ‘Oh, when I’m in the Little Falls area, I can shop at Bookin’ It,’ instead of going to a chain store.”

Though the participating bookstores are still formulating some plans, other aspects of the event have already been decided. Indie Bound ’Round will include prizes and giveaways, and each customer will receive a passport, which will be stamped upon entering each participating store. Wills Geraedts hopes to have author signings in Beagle Books over the course of the four days in addition to community events. Each bookstore is publicizing Indie Bound ’Round on their websites, on Facebook, in their newsletters, and via press releases to local newspapers. Wills Geraedts has contacted many publishers to request prize donations, such as bags, bookmarks, and ARCs.

The stores are planning to start out small and hope to expand on the event in the following years.

“We’re really excited, and we’re expecting it to be a really great event,” Wills Geraedts said. “It’s one of those things that really has room to grow.”