We have books. They aren’t sorted, scanned or stocked, but we have books.
Each day, we inch closer to opening. Last week, brick walls turned into bookshelves. This week, like Christmas in February, boxes upon boxes of books are delivered to our door. 38 boxes were delivered Wednesday — our first shipment. Yesterday we received 30 more. Every day is a baby step.
So far, we have ordered approximately 7,500 books. Hilary individually perused each title, one-by-one. We hand-picked these books to offer Ann Arbor the best possible selection. But at the same time, we will listen to our customers and the community and add to our growing inventory. Because our customers will know just as much (or more) about great books and we’re excited to have a dialogue about what you think are amazing reads and make that be part of our store, too.
Already, we’ve been getting great recommendations from the community. John Tewsley, former Borders buyer with expertise in History/Current Events/Politics/Law, helped us hone our non-fiction section. Peter Roumanis, owner of the new (and fabulous) restaurant Vellum on Main St, provided us with a great recommendation list for cookbook and food writing titles. Lovely MFA students (and soon-to-be Zell Fellows) Gina Balibrera and Claire Skinner gave us some personal poetry reading recommendations. Rebekah Modrak, UofM art professor, also provided a great list of titles that her students and colleagues wanted to see in store. And many, many thanks to Dave Jansen and all those at Above the Treeline (who are just down the street!) for providing much needed information on bestselling titles at indie bookstores. The vast knowledge of the community has been our greatest asset.
When we first toyed with the bookstore idea, we wanted every book to be a “good book”. But there are many different definitions of what is a “good book.” That’s the beauty with independent bookstores: The inventory is specifically catered to the community. We are able to select certain books because, as independent booksellers, we’re not tied down by shareholders or obligations to publishers or personalities. We can just carry whatever we believe to fit that category of “great books.” Our opening inventory will be far from perfect and will evolve (and grow!) over time. But for now it reflects our knowledge (and love) of books and we hope that to be a good starting-off point.
“When I go to a bookstore I like the sense that some kind of thought has gone into what is in the store. Someone has decided what is worthy of being on the shelf and what is not…. It will never be the case that every book in this country will be ordered online, never. And I say that with absolute confidence.”
Thank you to everyone who has been stopping by the store. Your kind words and encouragement keep us working late into the night to open as soon as possible.