This year's PW Bookstore of the Year, Literati Bookstore, opened its doors in Ann Arbor almost exactly six years ago to the day. Founders Hilary and Michael Gustafson moved back to Michigan from Brooklyn to start the bookstore when Borders went out of business in 2011. Initially Literati had 2,600 sq. ft., seven employees, and 9,000 books. Since then the store has grown significantly and now occupies close to 4,000 sq. ft. and has 27 employees and nearly 30,000 books, as well as a coffee shop.
Former PW Rep of the Year (2007) Kate McCune with HarperCollins nominated Literati because of its selection, events, subscription clubs, and commitment to giving back to the community. “The store has seen double digit growth most years since it opened. Publishers regularly trust them to host major authors, most recently Louise Penny who sold out a ticketed 900-seat offsite event. Mike published a book about life at the store, [Notes from a Public Typewriter],” noted McKune. She attributed part of the store’s success to Hilary’s strong sense of retail from working as an in-house rep for Simon & Schuster before opening the bookstore.
This year's PW Rep of the Year is Cindy Heidemann, a PGW and Two Rivers rep in the Northwest who started her book career at the University of Oregon Bookstore before becoming a commission rep for Redsides Pub Services in 2001. Two years later she moved to PGW, where she has worked through several transitions, most recently its purchase by Ingram Publisher Services. Even so, Heidemann said, “[PGW] still remains the best at what it does, distributing books to the needy literary masses.”
In his nominating letter, ABA president Robert Sindelar, writing in his capacity as managing partner of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Ravenna, and Seward Park, Wash., wrote: “In an ever growing and challenging list to navigate, Cindy is a master at helping buyers focus on what is important for their stores. Her judgment and insight are valued by all of our buyers.”
Look for in-depth interviews with the 2019 award-winners in the May 13 pre-BookExpo issue of Publishers Weekly. The awards will be presented Thursday morning during the convention.