It’s been fun to see the different initiatives across the country (and beyond) for Independent Bookstore Day this Saturday. In the Twin Cities, Angela and Jamie Schwesnedl at Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis have combined form and function by creating an artistic map of all Minneapolis/St. Paul bookstores.
“I’d been wanting one for a while, to help direct customers to other stores when they’re looking for things that we don’t have,” says Angela Schwesnedl. “I thought if we make the map this year then someone else can do it next year. We’re planning to have a different artist do it each year and have a free version like we made, and a nice fancy paper collectible version for stores to sell if they’d like.”
The map was created by hand using construction paper by Angela’s husband, Jamie. It took him about two weeks to create the map, and he even visited a few of the stores verify location and to make sure they were still open. The map was then scanned and prepared for printing by Tom Kaczynski of Uncivilized Books. “Tom lives just around the corner from the bookstore and did the ad layout, too,” says Schwesnedl.
The ads, located on the back of the map, we purchased by publishers located in Minneapolis. “We wanted the maps to be free and we wanted stores to be able to have maps to give away even if they didn’t have money to buy-in,” she says. “We didn’t want anyone to feel like they had to pay to be on the map either.”
Schwesnedl says that she wanted to do something for Independent Bookstore Day that would not only be useful beyond the one day, but also help people to think differently about bookstores. “We have a thriving community of independent bookstores here, so if you’re in Minneapolis or St. Paul, there’s probably a bookstore in your neighborhood and shopping at your neighborhood bookstore is totally normal. This map helps people plug into our great network of stores.”
She also would like to enhance the map a bit next year. “We want the map to include more info about bicycle routes, pedestrian routes and mass transit, and not just the major streets and highways.”
But the absent bicycle routes didn’t deter David Enyeart of Common Good Books in St. Paul. “I convinced the bike share program here to give us some free day passes for Independent Bookstore Day,” he says. “I’m thinking I might laminate of few of these maps to give out to bike riders.”