I can't even bear to look at where Shaman Drum Bookshop once stood on Ann Arbor's State Street. Once one of the most significant and wonderful independent bookstores in the country, it fell to a brutal and abrupt death, and nowadays its two storefronts are home to a 5 Guys chain restaurant and some chain women's boutique. (I don't know the name of the boutique, because, again, I refuse to dignify it with my eyesight.) Shortly after Shaman Drum's fall, so did Borders -- including the original Ann Arbor home to the landmark book chain, just blocks away from Shaman Drum 5 Guys. And just like that, one of the most literary cities you'll find was bereft of choices to buy new books. (Nicola's does a great job, but its far from the University of Michigan campus, and Crazy Wisdom serves a niche.)
And then, today, great news: a new indie bookstore is coming to downtown Ann Arbor. Literati Bookstore just signed a lease for the building at the corner of E. Washington and 4th, right in the heart of it.
The people behind the venture are Hilary Lowe and Michael Gustafson, a young couple with a background in publishing and journalism, and Michigan roots. From their site:
We’re still believers in the physical book browsing experience. A place where people can find interesting titles, talk about books, connect around ideas, and have a concrete sense of community. Maybe some people call that old-fashioned in this digital age, just like a typewriter. But we think bookstores these days are reinventing themselves in ways that are new and exciting, while still supporting an age old tradition. We hope to join them.
And, oh look: they even repurposed the shelving from the original Borders store.