There’s been a lot of excitement lately among Minneapolis booksellers, what with one well-established bookseller winning the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction, a former bookseller winning the 2012 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and a new bookselling duo opening a store.
Birchbark Books and Native Arts, which is owned by author Louise Erdrich, has sold “hundreds and hundreds” of copies of The Round House since its release October 2, store manager Susan White said, declining to provide exact numbers, as is store policy. Since the evening of November 14, when it was announced that Erdrich had won a National Book Award, “the phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” and the store’s Web site is “inundated with orders from all over,” she added. Because there are four persons on staff in an 800-square-foot space, White explained, the 11-year-old store ships orders only to U.S. and Canadian addresses. Every book written by Erdrich and sold through Birchbark is signed by her.
While the store is not planning a public celebration, the staff has created special window displays congratulating Erdrich, and there is “a huge pile” of copies of The Round House in the front of the store. Erdrich also plans to keep the bronze award statue she received during last week’s awards ceremony on permanent display at Birchbark Books.
Magers and Quinn Books in Uptown hopes to soon replenish its now-depleted stock of 40 signed copies of William Alexander’s debut YA novel, Goblin Secrets, especially now that he won the Young People’s Literature Award for it. Alexander, a former employee of the bookstore, who worked there off and on between 2007-2009, now teaches writing at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. The book launch for Goblin Secrets was held at Magers and Quinn on March 6, with about 40 people in attendance, mostly family and friends.
A few miles south of Birchbark Books and Magers and Quinn, Moon Palace Books, an 840-square-foot store, opened its doors in late October. The general-interest store, which is owned by Jamie and Angela Schwesnedl, contains 80% used books and 20% new books in its inventory, as well as e-readers and e-books. While the inventory is predominantly used, 50% of the store’s sales to date have been new books, and one Kobo e-reader has sold.
“I’d been thinking of opening a bookstore for years,” Angela Schwesnedl said. She previously worked for a Minneapolis used bookstore, The Paperback Exchange, for 10 years, while her husband self-published a book in the late ‘90s, and subsequently ran a micro-press in New Orleans, called New Mouse in the Dirty South. The two are the store’s sole employees.
Moon Palace is named for the 1989 novel by Paul Auster, in which the protagonist interits an apartment filled with books, but is forced to sell them off one by one.
“It’s the book that turned me into a reader,” Angela Schwesnedl explained, “I was 19, just out of school, and trying to figure out what to do with my life.”