It is with great regret that I announce the closure of The Book Shelf as of April 21st, 2015.
It is has been a wonderful experience being your independent bookseller for the past 14 years, and I wish it were possible to continue to be. We wouldn't have made it this far without the endearing support of our diehard customers, and I cannot tell you how important you have all been to me and my family.
I don't know what is in store for me next, but whatever it is, it will pale in comparison to the wonderful job I have had "slinging" books to all of you.
Chris Livingston, owner of The Book Shelf in Winona, Minnesota, recently announced to his customers and recipients of the bookstore's newsletter that the store will be closing after fourteen years in business. Here is a passage from that letter:
The store's inventory and fixtures will be sold at liquidation prices as long as they're available.
Ten bookstores in the Twin Cities are teaming up to produce a Bookstore Day Passport to be given out on the second annual Independent Bookstore Day, April 30 2016.
The passport was inspired by Minnesota illustrator Kevin Cannon's recent campaign to draw a Minnesota Bookstore every day for 31 days. Cannon agreed to allow bookstores to use his illustrations for the passport, and even went so far as to create additional illustrations specifically for the project, including the passport cover below.
Customers pick up a copy of the passport at any of the participating stores and receive their first stamp. Any individual who travels to all ten stores during business hours on Independent Bookstore Day and receives a stamp from each store will receive a $10 gift card from every participating bookstore--$100 in total value. When all the stamps have been collected, customers snap a photo of their completed stamp page and send it to the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association via twitter (@MidwestBooks), and we will gather contact info and send them their gift cards.
Moon Palace Books in South Minneapolis will also be producing a new and updated edition of its Twin Cities Bookstore Map, which will include all bookstores in the Twin Cities, not just those participating in the passport, Independent Bookstore Day, or members of MIBA.
To view or order Kevin Cannon's bookstore illustrations and other works, please visit his website at www.CannonMaps.com.
Apostle Island Booksellers' Theron O'Connor Pens Pointed Letter to the Editor of Wisconsin State Journal
In response to declining populations in over half of Wisconsin's counties last year, Theron O'Connor of Bayfield WI's Apostle Islands Booksellers penned the following letter to the editors of Wisconsin State Journal:
In Apostle Islands Booksellers most recent newsletter, which redistributed the letter to their customers, the bookstore also added the following statement:
Sometimes our friends can unwittingly be among our worst enemies. Wisconsin Public Radio is a great, long-term institution in our state. We understand their financial pressures as more and more “public” funds are withdrawn. But, the damage done to rural Wisconsin communities by its partnership with Amazon.com, Inc. is unacceptable. We ask that you support us in our effort to get their attention and revisit their mission of “strengthening Wisconsin’s communities.”
At the 2013 Heartland Fall Forum, MIBA and GLIBA honored poet, novelist, essayist, food connessuir, and outdoorsman Jim Harrison with the first jointly-given "Voice of the Heartland Award." Harrison attended the trade show and conference's awards ceremony and spoke from his table about his relationship to the Midwest, where he grew up and where many of his novels are set. Harrison died at 78 years old on Sunday, March 27 2016.
Watch video captured by an audience member of Jim Harrison's Voice of the Heartland Award acceptance speech below.
Click the links below for more information about Jim Harrison's life and passing.
As reported by Minnesota Public Radion, Pat and Gary Frovarp have sold Once Upon a Crime Books in Minneapolis after 14 successful years. The couple is retiring. New owners Dennis Abraham, Meg Kelly-Abraham and their Daughter Denise plan to expand the store's online presence.
Read the full story from MPR here.
Midwest Connections has grown by leaps and bounds in the past year, thanks to increasingly active participation from booksellers like you. More publishers are eager to participate, and more authors and books with ties to our region are finding their ways into readers' hands. Thank you to everyone who supports the program and uses our display materials to promote the literary culture of the Midwest.
Changes to Rebate Structure
To help make Midwest Connections a sustainable program, and to further maximize the impact the program has on sales and exposure for selected titles, we're adjusting our rebate structure to reward booksellers for additional promotions.
Effective beginning with rebate requests for January 2016's picks, MIBA will no longer offer $50 for using the free display materials we send out each month. Instead, you'll earn $25 for your display, but you'll be able to earn the difference back by employing an additional promotional strategy. The total rebate amount will remain at $125.
Here's how to maintain your $125/month rebate offer.
Join Our Committee
Have you ever wondered how Midwest Connections Picks are selected? We use a team of booksellers to look for titles and select the slate of picks every month. If this sounds like something you or one of your staffers would enjoy, please email Robert for more information. We'd love to hear from you.
Publishers! We’d like to put your authors in front of key Twin Cities booksellers this spring. Build buzz for new titles, forge connections, and help authors get acquainted with local booksellers.
How? We're hosting a Spring Forum with ABA on March 16, 2016 in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (exact location TBD). The first part of the day will be education for booksellers only; the second part of the day will be a social author event (est. 3:00 pm until 5:00 pm). We estimate 60 booksellers will be in attendance--owners, managers, and frontline booksellers.
The exact format is dependent on how many authors join us. If we have more than 10, we’d host a Moveable Feast style author/bookseller speed dating event. If fewer join us, we’ll give authors an opportunity to address the audience individually. Either way, we’ll wrap up the event with a book signing.
Booksellers meeting authors in Minneapolis in 2014. See more pictures on Facebook.
2014 Spring Author Event in Minneapolis
Our spring meeting in 2014 was in Minneapolis and also featured an author social.
Across our 9-state region, booksellers will be participating in Small Business Satuday on November 28, 2015. Here's a taste of the programming and author visits stores have lined up:
On Tuesday, October 27 2015, Tim Johnston, author of Descent, was honored as a 2015 Iowa Author at the awards ceremony in Des Moines. Past honorees include Jane Smiley, Bill Bryson, Marilynne Robinson, and Frank Conroy. The paperback of Descent releases on November 11th. You can read more about the 2015 Iowa Author Awards and the three other honorees here.
Descent was a Midwest Connections pick for the month of January 2015, and was a Midwest Booksellers Choice Award finalist in the Fiction category for 2015.
Due to the expansion of their landlord's business in Buffalo MN, Book Break has sought and found a new space in neighboring Maple Lake MN. Marilyn Groth, the store's owner and manager, says, "Maple Lake is where I started out 29 years ago. It is a smaller town in lake country, which is in need of a good anchor store, but it has been gaining several more artsy-type shops so it can be a destination." The store will be located in a large, hundred-year-old brick building on Main Street in the middle of town. Says Groth, "I finally have space! It's exciting. After 25 years in Buffalo, I'm back where I started."
The Book Break will have a Re-Grand Opening Party sometime in October along with their usual "OctoberBookFest," and they're looking forward to the holidays in a new location.
May 13, 2016
"Books are back. Only the technodazzled thought they would go away."
May 20, 2016
"People are hungry for real bookstores": Judy Blume on why US indie booksellers are thriving
September 22, 2015
"The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead"