((POSTED ON LITERATI’S 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY — and my birthday — MARCH 31 !!!))
Literati Bookstore is an independent bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor. It’s a wonderful new bookstore that feels fresh, well-designed, digitally capable and knowledgeable, but also fully connected to the history of hardcovers, hand-written book recommendations and their own community.
Although I live nowhere near Michigan, it was wonderful to visit the friendly people at Literati Bookstore, and to see how much they are doing in terms of community outreach, author events and their groundedness in the local bookish world. Now that I’m not there, I love the social media pictures of Literati Bookstore in the Anne Arbor winter snow, and their online pics of author events, both in the bookstore itself as well as at the University of Michigan. I feel like I’m there in person so often at Literati Bookstore, and I find myself ordering online from them, even though I have marvelous local bookstores here in my hometown of Olympia.
What’s really amazing about Literati Bookstore is that it’s relatively new — the bookstore has only been around for only five years.
I’m so excited to have visited Literati in Anna Arbor, and to know that people who care about books are still opening amazing new bookish experiences. The couple who opened the bookstore — Hilary and Mike Gustafson — had a vision for opening a new bookstore in Anne Arbor after the local Borders closed in 2013.
Like any good businesspeople, the Gustafsons did a huge amount of research and work prior to opening Literati Bookstore. They had spent quite a bit of time in New York, and enjoyed visiting bookstores across the New York region, including favorite bookstores in Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan. Prior to opening, they also interviewed and talked to over 150 people in the Anne Arbor business community.
Of course, it takes a dynamic team to run such a fantastic bookish experience. They talk about each of their booksellers both in person and on video — people like their inventory lead Jeanne Joesten, their author event organizer John Ganiard, and a wonderful bookseller extraordinaire Claire Tobin, their marketing coordinator. And each of these booksellers are absolutely committing to the mission of the store — you can just tell that each of them are absolutely in love with the books at Literati, and their enthusiasm is contagious.
Literati Bookstore is located right in the heart of downtown Anne Arbor, which is a perfect location as the store is only a few blocks from the University of Michigan’s campus. Literati says that it aims to be a place where book lovers can go, talk, and interact with each other.They also host author readings, book clubs, poetry nights, and many other events that make the bookish community a dynamic thing in Anne Arbor.
Literati‘s staff hails from the greater Ann Arbor area, and many have extensive bookselling experience. They are smart enough to partner with collaborate with many Anne Arbor businesses and organizations, including the University of Michigan, 826michigan, Spencer Restaurant, Argus Farm Stop, Vault of Midnight, and many more. Over the last couple years, they acquired the coffeehouse in the same building, and kept it going as a second venue for the Literati community.
Most importantly, Literati says that they believe in the “whimsy that an independent bookstore provides”. I believe in that whimsy as well, so it’s an amazing thing to visit the store.
Here’s one more cool thing about Literati. Almost everything in Literati is repurposed or designed locally. The bookshelves were acquired from a local bookstore that went out of business and their coffee-tables were purchased at local thrift stores and consignment shops, or designed and built right in Michigan. Even the Literati bookmarks were designed by a local graphic designer in Ann Arbor (Alisa Bobzien), while the windows, signs, and bags were designed, hand-painted, and/or constructed by a local artist in Ann Arbor (Samantha Schroeder). Literati Bookstore plans to be around for at least 30 years — and I hope they are there forever!
Literati Bookstore is one of my literary touchstones, and I’m happy to share that bookstore experience with my readers! Enjoy!
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