Green Apple Books in San Francisco is this year’s PW Bookstore of the Year. That it was nominated by Bay Area colleague Sheryl Cotleur, frontlist buyer at Copperfield’s Books in Sebastopol, Calif., should come as no surprise to those familiar with the 47-year-old labyrinthine bookstore, which has earned a name for itself for community involvement: for founding the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Association, participating on the boards of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association and the Clement Street Merchants Association, and advising Litquake and the San Francisco Library’s One City One Book program. In addition, Green Apple is the driving force behind this year’s 93-store strong inaugural California Bookstore Day, which is loosely based on Record Store Day and could serve as a prototype for a national bookstore celebration.
Over the years Green Apple, which carries both new and used books, has grown from 750 sq. ft. to more than ten times that size. When founder Peter Savoy put the store up for sale, three long-time employees—Kevin Hunsanger, Kevin Ryan, and Pete Mulvihill—began a gradual buyout. The three have created fun and quirky promotions like a midnight release party for IQ84 with free tacos and a can of Sapporo, and it has experimented with a set of YouTube videos/commercials, including one on hiring a new bookseller. (Hint: it’s not just about reading.) It also has fostered some unusual partnerships by placing bookcases of used books in six indie cafes around the Bay Area, Cafe Green Apple.
Green Apple’s whimsical approach to the book business has paid off with strong customer support. It has over 1,000 reviews on Yelp, most with four or five stars. Jaime L. asks, “Have you had a bite of Green Apple Books? No? Well, take one. Tastes like a local book store with some unparalleled uniqueness and variety. Seriously. As good as it gets. Green Apple books is yet another San Francisco landmark that deserves exceptional recognition.” While JL complains with tongue firmly in cheek, “It’s really not fair to lure innocent passers-by into a seemingly innocuous establishment to peruse the wares and then refuse to relinquish said passers-by for several hours.”
For 2014, Teresa Rolfe Kravtin of Southern Territory Associates has taken the PW Rep of the Year Award. In her nomination, children’s book author and illustrator Elizabeth O. Dulemba praised Kravtin for going above and beyond. “She really proved her chops on The Twelve Days of Christmas in Georgia. She actually took it upon herself to help the author [Susan Rosson Spain] and I (illustrator) set up book signings all over our fair state two years in a row. I’ve never heard of a rep doing that. I wish Teresa could rep me for all of my books.”
This is not the first time that Kravtin has been singled our as a sales representative. When she was a Southeastern sales rep for Penguin USA, she was named a Regional Rep of the Year for Penguin and a Sales Representative of the Year for the Southeast Booksellers Association. Kravtin speaks her mind on her blog, A Rep Reading. She covers American Wholesale Book Company and Books-A-Million for the group; her territory includes Georgia, the Florida Panhandle, and Chattanooga.
Look for in-depth interviews with the 2014 award-winners in the April 28 pre-BEA issue of Publishers Weekly magazine.