Jamie and Angela Schwesnedl of Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis took it upon themselves to create a Twin Cities Bookstore Map in advance of Independent Bookstore Day on May 2, 2015. But the idea for the map started long before IBD. As Jamie says, "People are always coming in looking for a certain kind of book that we might not have enough of, and other stores in town specialize in. Angela got really sick of drawing maps for people so they could get to other bookstores. So, she thought, we should just make a map with all the bookstores on it that we can just give to people." When booksellers started talking about IBD, though, they got the inspiration--and the deadline--they needed. "We realized we had a deadline, and thought maybe people could use the map for various IBD tours, bike-rides, scavenger hunts, etc."
Jamie illustrated the map, but as Moon Palace could print the map themselves, they turned to local businesses (publishers, in particular) to help cover the printing costs. "We didn't want to pay for it ourselves, so we sold ads to local publishers to go on the back, and got Tom from Uncivilized books to help us with layout and print prep." Publishers jumped at the opportunity to have their name attached to such a useful tool to be shared throughout the bookloving community in the Twin Cities.
While not all stores are located in communities with such widespread support for bookselling, the map is an idea that can be tweaked slightly and emulated everywhere--consider creating a map of local and indpendent businesses, or a map of literary landmarks in your area, or of any culturally significant sites such as libraries, theaters, venues and museums. Moon Palace cut costs by illustrating the map on their own, but even as an accomplished illustrator, Jamie would prefer to outsource that part of the work as well. "Next year, we'd love to have a more famous local artist do it, and do a series of signed silkscreen prints of it that are for sale on IBD, plus focus more on pedestrian and bike routes on the map, and maybe other local geographic or cultural items."
Lots of great ideas coming as a result of Independent Bookstore Day, which is, after all, a celebration of great ideas.