2021 Year in Review

Posted By: Carrie Obry Association News ,

Happy 40th anniversary, Midwest Booksellers! Our association incorporated in the fall of 1981. Read about our founding here

To get a sense for what was happening in 1981, let's check out the New York Times bestseller lists for hardcover and paperback. Stephen King was terrifying us with Cujo and Firestarter, but we were also peering into bedrooms by reading the Hite Report on Male Sexuality. Richard Simmons was teaching us how to lose weight, but the book Garfield Gains Weight was telling us it’s OK to gain a few pounds. America was busy mastering the Rubik’s Cube, with three bestselling books on how to solve the vexing puzzle.

While our industry has its own puzzles to solve, we can now say that bookstores are going to weather the global pandemic. At this time last year, we reflected on the extraordinary events of the world and how independent booksellers persevered as indispensable community hubs, even when their doors were closed to foot traffic during COVID lockdown precautions. Despite the Delta variant fueling year two of the pandemic, we believe nearly all of our stores are fully re-open, with the last one planning to open soon (can’t wait, Moon Palace!). Of the two stores that permanently closed this year, it was due to ownership changes and relocation. We've received no reports of stores closing due to the pandemic.

Since our last membership meeting, MIBA welcomed 30 new bookstore members. Extraordinary! Of these stores, 16 of them were founded in the the last year. We also welcomed 24 new industry members and are thankful for our collaboration with the Independent Publishers Caucus. 

During a tumultuous time, the numbers show that bookstores and industry members are infused with hope for the future, our membership is thriving, and books and bookstores act as life rafts to bring us to better times. We hope this good news augurs a remarkable year ahead as we make plans to gather in-person in 2022. 

2021 membership report

New member bookstores

  • 30 bookstores joined our association
  • 16 of these stores are new
  • 24 are in operation and 6 are currently in development

New industry members

  • 24 new industry partners joined our association

In addition, four of our stores moved to new locations (Raven Book Store, A Room of One’s Own, Russell Specialty Books and Gifts, Blue House Books) and one of our stores found new ownership (Downtown Book and Toy).

New bookstore members founded this year

  • Reading in Public Bookstore + Café
  • Reads by the River
  • Sojourn Booksellers
  • Terrace Books
  • Prologue
  • Books & Burrow
  • Books and Bakery LLC
  • Bound to Happen Books
  • Leopold's Books Bar Caffe
  • Lion's Tooth
  • Little Readers
  • Raccoon River Press
  • Rare Vision Books
  • The Bookshop Coop
  • The Well Read Raccoon Books & Curiosities, LLC
  • Twinflower Books


New bookstore members founded prior to October 2020

  • The Curiosity Shop
  • Afterwords Books
  • Bird Cage Book Store and Mercantile
  • Black Garnet Books
  • Black Ice Comics & Books
  • Bliss Books & Wine
  • Bookmarks
  • Dog Eared Books
  • Pagination Bookshop
  • Paper June
  • Sidekick Coffee & Books
  • The Amazing Alonzo!
  • Twice Told Tales
  • ddrbooks

24 new industry members

  • A Public Space
  • Baker & Taylor Publisher Services/BTPS
  • Blue Handle Publishing
  • Book*hug Press
  • Feet Wet Writing
  • Feminist Press
  • Frederic Thomas USA, Inc.
  • Gnome Road Publishing
  • Histria Books
  • Indiana University Press
  • Jacaranda Books Art Music Ltd.
  • Kensington Publishing Corp.
  • Lanternfish Press
  • New Directions
  • Ninewise Publishing
  • Red Chair Press
  • Rudbeckia Productions LLC
  • Seven Stories Press
  • Sheboygan County Historical Research Center
  • Steerforth Press
  • The Collective Book Studio
  • The New Press
  • University of Notre Dame Press
  • Whistleslick Press