Booksellers and their customers have for years been able to easily find out what new releases other booksellers are buzzing about by perusing the American Booksellers Association’s IndieBound Indie Next lists. Now bookseller Hans Weyandt, the co-owner of Micawber’s Books in St. Paul, Minn. wants booksellers and their customers to be able to get a handle on what other booksellers consider, on a personal level, to be their top 50 favorite reads or handsells of all time.
“It can be out-of-print, children’s, regional, fiction, anything,” Weyandt said, explaining that he spent the month of August contacting several colleagues across the country, asking them to list their top 50 books, and then to give him the name of another individual bookseller he could contact next. To date, Weyandt has gathered together lists of a total of 1,000 titles from 20 booksellers in 17 states, including head buyers, bookstore owners, and booksellers, the majority of whom Weyandt had never met previously.
At Micawber’s, the lists will be placed in a binder at the front register for both staff and customers to use as a resource. Beginning today with his own list, and going on until every list he has received has been posted, Weyandt will post a list from a different bookseller each day on the bookstore blog, http://www.micawbers.blogspot.com/, and on its Facebook page. He’s also going to be sending the lists to every bookseller participating in the project to use as they see fit.
The lists brilliantly reflect the incredible diversity and range of interests of the independents, Weyandt noted. While a few titles appeared on one-third of the lists, and a lot more appeared on more than one list, most of the lists did not have overlap. “The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien for sure was on the most lists by a lot,” Weyandt disclosed, adding that Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell was included on about six lists.
Joe DeSalvo, the owner of Faulkner House in New Orleans wrote out in longhand his list of his favorite 50 books – all by deceased authors, so that he would not risk offending any live authors.
“I’m going to write out in longhand the whole thing [the lists from all the participating booksellers] and send it to him,” Weyandt said.