Around Indies [3]

Parnassus Books to Launch Bookmobile

Nashville’s Parnassus Books [4] will debut a new mobile bookstore outside its Green Hills shop on Sunday, March 20, reported the Tennessean [5].

The blue truck, named Pegasus, will carry hundreds of books, including new releases, bestselling titles, cookbooks, and children’s books, as well as gifts. The truck is a former mobile library that has been renovated and painted.

The bookmobile is a longtime dream of co-owner Karen Hayes, who owns the store with author Ann Patchett. The brick-and-mortar shop’s name comes from the 1917 book Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley, which features a horse-drawn caravan that sells books.

“Before we opened I thought, ‘We’ve got to have a Parnassus on Wheels too at some point.’ It took longer than I thought to find one,” Hayes said.

More than 15 local businesses have expressed interest in hosting the bookmobile, which will also make stops at festivals and other events. Bookmobile operations will be managed by Parnassus bookseller Grace Wright.

“It’s a great way to reach out to the community, which is a big part of our mission — to be a part of the city and partner with other businesses and organizations,” said Hayes.

Group Seeks to Open Billings Bookstore Co-operative

Billings, Montana, community members have formed the group Bring a Bookstore to Billings in hopes of opening the Billings Bookstore Co-operative in a former Wendy’s restaurant in the downtown area, reported the Billings Gazette [6].

Leading the group is Carrie LaSeur, a local attorney and author of The Home Place (William Morrow), who is seeking an $8,000 tax increment finance district grant from the Downtown Billings Association to study the vacant Wendy’s location.

The Billings Bookstore Co-operative proposes to offer general shares in the bookstore of $100 each, which would make the shareholder a voting co-op member, and preferred shares of $500 each, which would provide the shareholder with an annual dividend when the store becomes profitable.

“As a practical matter, we need to see if the support is there,” said LaSeur. “If people don’t want to put their money where their mouth is, we could be short.”

The group is working with the building owner to secure a three-year lease on the space, which would house a bookstore and café on the main floor and a studio space for artists on the mezzanine.

“We want this to be a new cultural center to downtown,” LaSeur said. “We want to bring in authors for readings and make this a real community hub for literacy.”

Florida’s MacIntosh Books Moves

Sanibel Island’s MacIntosh Books and Paper [7], a 56-year-old institution in the Florida community, moved to a new location earlier this year, according to the Island Reporter [8]. This is the bookstore’s fifth location since it opened in 1960 on the east end of the island.

“It’s a Sanibel tradition,” manager Rebecca Binkowski said of the bookstore. “For us it’s more about relationships with customers.”

The shop closed its Periwinkle Place location on December 31, reopening the next morning in the Palm Ridge Place shopping plaza, which houses established business and new shops. “It’s a really nice energy of like-minded people,” said Binkowski.

The new location provides a larger space for expanded inventory, including cards, children’s books, and cooking titles, and for customers to sit and read in new chairs. The store also added an indie bestseller display, which will be updated monthly.

MacIntosh Books also has an outpost at the Franklin Shops in downtown Fort Myers, Florida.

Micawber’s Books Relocates

St. Paul, Minnesota’s Micawber’s Books [9] has moved into a smaller, less expensive shop just a few feet away from the storefront where it had been since 1972, reported the Star Tribune [10].

“I decided that it was too expensive and couldn’t control the costs,” said Tom Bielenberg, who has owned the store since 2003. “Also, I didn’t need all the space I had.”

In February, Bielenberg recruited a group of friends and loyal customers to move boxes of books from the former shop into the new, lower-level space that faces the courtyard of the Milton Square shopping complex.

“There’s always the question of people finding me. But I’m really encouraged,” said Bielenberg.

Book Revue Welcomes New Café

Café Revue, a 16-seat counter-serve café owned by Patrick Nolan, opened in Huntington, New York’s Book Revue [11] earlier this month, reported Newsday [12], replacing Cook’s Scratch Kitchen, which closed in September.

The café’s menu offers sandwiches, salads, and soup, as well as coffee and cookies.

Book Revue, which opened in 1977, was named Best Bookstore on Long Island [13] for the 11th year running in February.

Left Bank Books Plays Role in Marriage Proposal

A subscriber to Left Bank Books [14]This Just In Monthly Book Club [15] subscription service was surprised when this month’s pick, A Wedding Song for Poorer People: Stories by Alfred DePew (Mixed Messages Press), arrived with a diamond ring attached.

“I love this subscription! Greatest present ever. And last month my boyfriend intercepted the package, unwrapped it, and rewrapped it with an engagement ring inside! Thanks Left Bank, for being part of our story,” wrote customer Meghan Elizabeth Mueller.

“We love it when books bring people together,” commented Marketing and Publicity Manager Lauren Wiser.