About

ourstore

We are a new independent bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor. We moved here in the hopes of adding and enhancing the vibrant downtown culture and arts scene. We aim to be a place where book lovers can go, talk, and interact with each other. We also host author readings, book clubs, poetry nights, open mic nights, and anything else we can think of. But most of all: We want to be a great and welcoming bookstore.

Our staff hails from the greater Ann Arbor area, and many have extensive bookselling experience. Out of over 300+ applicants, we carefully selected the most passionate and experienced booksellers, people who have worked previously for both Borders and Shaman Drum and who are engaged and involved within the literary community here.

We believe that, contrary to popular belief, we are not hurtling towards some digital, machine-operated future where an Amazon algorithm can decide your reading list. We believe in the whimsy that an independent bookstore provides. We believe that people still enjoy reading real books where real people work in a real bookstore.

Almost everything in our store is repurposed or designed locally. Our bookshelves were purchased from the original Borders Store No. 1. Our tables were purchased at local thrift stores and consignment shops. Our bookmarks were designed by Alisa Bobzien, a local graphic designer in Ann Arbor. Our logo T-shirts and totes were printed by VGKids, an Ypsi-based printing company, and they were all made in the USA. Our sign was designed by a former senior design editor at National Geographic, Oliver Uberti, who now lives in Ann Arbor, constructed by Grafaktri, also based in Ann Arbor. Our windows, signs, and bags were designed, hand-painted, and/or constructed by Samantha Schroeder, a local artist in Ann Arbor. We are committed to working with and supporting the local community.

We are so excited to be in Ann Arbor. We are thrilled to be your downtown independent general bookstore.

Meet the Owners

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We love books. Hello. We are Mike Gustafson and Hilary Gustafson, proud booksellers and owners of Literati Bookstore. As Michigan natives, we both have fond memories of childhoods filled with books. Curling up late at night. Long, sunny afternoons, beachside along one of the Great Lakes, reading until the sun went down.

When we heard about Borders closing shop nationally, our immediate reaction was, “What about downtown Ann Arbor?” We grew up here. We have family here. We couldn’t stomach one of the most literate, creative cities in the nation (the world?) without a downtown general bookstore to share ideas, discuss books, and meet authors. While Ann Arbor does have some truly great niche bookstores downtown, we feel that not having a general bookstore that sells new books in the walkable downtown area is a great disservice to the community.

So, we decided to move from Brooklyn back to Ann Arbor to start a bookstore. To show that independent bookstores thrive in communities that value the written word. To show that bookstores could thrive in vibrant downtowns like Ann Arbor. To support local authors, artists, readers, writers, kids, adults, and anyone else who loves books as much as we do.

And we’ll be the first to admit, we’re pretty scared. But at the same time, we’re excited. We’re excited to share our favorite books. To learn about our customers’ favorite books. We’re excited to grow with Ann Arbor, and create a quirky, fun, warm and welcoming general bookstore, with book clubs, author events, panels, discussions, singles dating nights…. You name it, we want to do it.

But mostly, we just want to bring a general bookstore back to downtown Ann Arbor.

PrintLiterati Bookstore is located at:
124 E Washington St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
on the corner of Fourth Ave and Washington St.
info@literatibookstore.com
734-585-5567

18 thoughts on “About

  1. Clayton Eshleman

    dear Michael and Hilary, Keith Taylor has told me about your enterprise. I wish you the very best of luck in this difficult for bookstores time. I would be happy to do a reading at your store when appropriate after the opening (with Keith, should you like that idea). I have a new large compendium just out, The Price of Experience, from Black Widow Press (my current main publisher, along with Wesleyan U Press). Wesleyan will bring out a new Cesaire translation this spring. On January 24, at 7 PM, I am doing a program on The Price of Experience at Nicola’s in the Westland Mall. Keith will introduce me. If you are free, please come and introduce yourselves.
    Best regards, Clayton Eshleman

  2. S

    What a thrill to see a gorgeous bookstore opening instead of closing! I wish you the best of luck and will check back to revel in your progress.

    Hey, it might be a good idea to put a Contact Us page on this site.

    Best,
    Sabriga

  3. Erin

    Hi there! Your shop looks amazing. I am in the process of redesigning a room in a library and am wondering about how you did your floor in the book store. Is that an oil cloth or is it painted on the wood? Thanks for you help and good luck w/you shop!

    1. literatibookstore

      We painted on the floor. It was about a 4 day job. We first scuffed the wood then painted two coats of white paint. Then we measured and chalk lined out our black squares and fortunately that only took one coat. Then we did two coats of poly. So far, so good! The only major concern is that you really have to watch scratches, even more so than with regular hard wood, because if you scratch the black paint, you can’t really touch it up over the poly… Hope this helps!

  4. Jan

    congratulations! we loved our first visit to your store last night and are talking it up! we’ll be back soon and often.

  5. Amy Spade Silverman

    I wish you so much success! It has been sad to live far away and hear that this bookstore has closed, or that one–stabs in the heart!–and to know now that there will be one more place to feel at home in, in a city I love so much… I’m overflowing with emotion. Can’t wait to see the store next time I’m in Michigan. I’ll love the poetry and cookbook sections, my husband the science, and my daughter the children’s.

    You are kind, brave, brilliant souls.

  6. Elise

    Hi there,

    I’m from Indonesia, and i read your story, or i can say your bookstore story. Thank you for believing in physical bookstore, and i can feel it in my bone that you’re really happy now. I pray so that you and your bookstore become a living inspiration for those who believe in paper and ink:)

  7. Beatrix

    I have to admit that I was rather disappointed to find that you don’t seem to have a local authors section. I can hardly support a store for “being local” when the store itself doesn’t support local producers of the very product it sells.

      1. Jane Burton

        Hello. I love your shop, though Nicola’s had been my go to place for years. I am glad to hear you relocated from Brooklyn– my son and his girlfriend are moving back to AA from Brooklyn and cannot wait to have our downtown to explore. I will be sure that Literati is tops on their list of must visits .

        Also I need a book group– badly. I love to read but need to discuss I prefer fiction, historical fiction, memoirs, etc. what kind of groups have you got going at Literati? Thank uou

      2. literatibookstore

        Hi Jane! Great to hear from you and thank you for your kind words. We look forward to seeing you!

        We have a few different book clubs listed here on our website! http://www.literatibookstore.com/book-clubs They meet about once a month, are free to attend, and if you buy the book from us, you get a 15% discount. We also have a great email newsletter that we send explaining upcoming events, and that sign-up form is on our website literatibookstore.com or you can give us a call and we can add you.

        Thanks again, and we hope to see you soon!

  8. Kelly

    I really need to come visit! I have to say I’m one of those people who still appreciates a physical bookstore too. There’s the browsing and then there’s the staff (who tend to know what I’m looking for even if I don’t).

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