|Pages Bookshop in Detroit|
Luckily for those who love independent bookstores, some indies have survived the decades-long assault from big booksellers and the internet, while others have recently opened up shop. Whether they opened in the last few years or more than a few decades ago, good independent bookstores realize that they are much more than stores that sell books. It doesn't matter whether they sell coffee and other merchandise or just books. The special ones are gathering places for readers and writers. They offer recommendations, spur conversation, preserve and promote knowledge, and elevate communities.
Although they may not be as common as they once were, Michigan still has many independent bookstores. Here are a few of my favorites:
Falling Rock Cafe & Bookstore
|Falling Rock Cafe & Bookstore|
The bookstore has more than 30,000 new and used books, as well as locally made jewelry, pottery, and gifts. I was impressed by their section dedicated to local writers and found a couple of great books set in the U.P., South of Superior and Here. With its wide-open floor plan and numerous tables, Falling Rock is a great place to warm up with a good book and cup of coffee on a cold U.P. day.
The Book Beat
|The Book Beat is teeming with books.|
Book Beat carries more than 50,000 titles, including a large selection of Michigan- and Detroit-themed books and an excellent children's book selection. It hosts a series of events each month, including book signings and lectures. Book Beat also selects a book each month for its reading group, which meets offsite to discuss the book.
|Snowbound's old sign. They replaced it soon after I visited.|
I had just discovered the late Jim Harrison's works when I visited. He spent a lot of time in Marquette and set many of his stories and poems in the area, and he even mentioned Snowbound in his novels. I felt as if a visit to Snowbound was a necessary stop on a pilgrimage to his old stomping grounds. I even caught him keeping watch over the place with his one good eye.
|Jim Harrison keeping watch at Snowbound Books|
|Pages features books from the Made in Michigan Writers Series.|
Pages also hosts a series of readings and events for local writers and hosts a local book club. The staff has been friendly and helpful both times I've visited. Plus, they have a cat, who gives the store a relaxing and homey feel.
|The cat who carefully guards literature|
Ann Arbor is known as Tree Town. As home to the University of Michigan and several bookstores, Book Town might be a better name for it. Literati Bookstore opened in 2013 and has quickly established itself as a mecca for book lovers and writers. Literati hosts several book clubs and brings in nationally acclaimed writers for readings and book signings.
|Literati's fiction section is filled with thoughtful staff recommendations.|
I believe the same things, and I'd guess most other independent bookstore fans do too. And that's why Literati does their job so well.
The above stores are just a few of Michigan's many independents. I hope to visit more during my travels. If you're looking for an independent bookstore in your area, try the store finder at https://www.indiebound.org. It doesn't include every independent bookstore, but it's a great place to start.