Since my last visit here, Bettie’s Pages has an all new expanded area that includes a larger children’s section. You could see hints of it in my last shoot. The back area is a relaxing winding series of shelves leading to new book discoveries. Since my last visit they’ve expanded to a staff of four, and they are lovely people. They’ve already filled it to capacity with books and love, in fact they’ve run out of room! Their next big plan is a relocation to a larger venue a mile or so away from their current space. You can help with their move here:
This proud, LGBTQ+ friendly store deserves as much support as they can get. Look for an update after they move, planning on doing another photo shoot sometime in October or November once they’ve settled in.
Between the Covers bookshop has been in business for about 10 years, the last 5 in it’s current space. The owner, Elizabeth, is a warm host. She started her bookstore following childhood dreams and that’s reflected in the whimsy of the store, located near Holland Michigan. The other bookstore owner is a friendly cat named Ms. Patty who greeted us immediately when we first walked in and followed my wife around dutifully showing her all the bookshelves.
To see more from this great bookshop please visit their instagram page @btcbookshop.
I haven’t photographed a comic book store for this blog yet, however I felt compelled immediately upon entering Gotham Night Comics. Fergel, co-founder and president, is a gracious and energetic host. Ready to chat about the minutia of DC’s Flashpoint or the various talented artists drawing and penning old and new Marvel characters. The store shows a real love for both collectors items and comic book history and it’s present in every corner of the store. It was a pleasure to visit and I look forward to coming back again.
Visit their website for more information about their store.
Amy opened The Bluestocking Bookshop in 2019, due to some great foresight she put her entire inventory online, allowing her bookstore to thrive despite the very awful gross bad things that happened in 2020 (COVID of course). This allowed customers to buy books without having to risk health and avoid soulless online shopping.
Recently expanded, taking over the neighboring mobile store, this fantastic bookstore offers a great variety of reading material. My wife and I felt immediately welcome there with its cozy chairs, artistic tables and brightly lit rooms.
Amy also let us know about Bookhop, happening soon in Michigan!
A small open spaced bookstore with shelves lining each wall, Books & Mortar is surrounded by a supportive community of book lovers. Initially opened in 2016, the current owner Jenny took ownership in 2018 and has a staff of four. Each shelve has multiple hand written notes (either from the bookstore employees or from the community) giving little mini reviews of the books therein contained. The bookstore finds it’s roots in literary activism and it shows in every corner, including the large prints of book covers covering their walls, flying books strung from the ceiling, shredded page garlands and rainbow colored yarn art (made and donated by the original owner). The space has a warm and open feeling, ready to accept any and all readers. “Consiously currated, fiercly independent and proudly progressive” (the store slogan)`, this is a bookstore that I look forward to visiting again and again.
Going on 5 years, Paper Trail Books has been part of a new revitalization of bookstores in Michigan (see previous entries on Betties Pages, Library Books). Situated next to Cafe Muse in downtown Royal Oak, down the block from several hipster clothes shops, it’s a fantastic spot for walkins and regulars. The owner, Dave, has a long history with books that starts way back to his earlier days working in several previous bookstores and it shows on everyone of his custom made shelves. It was a delight to walk around the store, with it’s moody lighting, island shelves and gander at his stock. Thanks Dave for letting me in to take pictures! Also thanks to my dear wife Tina for encouraging me to continue with this hobby and taking all the instax photos down below.
You can get more information on this great little bookstore at their website here.
On a personal note, I’ve lined up several more bookstores that I will begin covering in the near future, will try for more updates this year now that covid is…well…is still there but not quite as limiting. 😀
Bettie’s Pages is a fantastic lens to see Lowell Michigan through (and honestly, most of Western Michigan). The owner is motivated, organized and resilient and her love for the bookstore pops in every nook and cranny. The bookstore has a defined vision and you can see it reflected in every shelf. It’s exciting to visit a place like this and know that in a short period of time it’ll be expanding (see the chalk board in some of the pics, right behind there is construction). The brick wall accents and contrasts the white of the shelves which lends itself to a stylish composition.
The bookstore itself is only two years old and in it’s second location (the first unfortunately was flooded). The second opening happened right on the onset of the Covid pandemic but the bookstore pivoted to online “Boredom Boxes” and various gift packages (that’s actually how my wife and I heard about the bookstore, gifts for the family). We’re already planning our second visit to Lowell once the expansion is done so I can take some more photos of the planned childrens reading area in the back. If you’d like more information or some great ideas for gifts please visit their website.
When I started this blog I wasn’t entirely sure why I wanted to take photos of books and bookstores. I’d always enjoyed spending time in big box bookstores when I was young, all the crisp pages and that wonderful paper smell. I thought maybe that was it, just a reminiscence of youth through my much older eyeballs. I’ve started to realize it’s not that, although I’ve come to enjoy the smell of used books much more than new ones, it’s not nostalgia that gives me a rush when I see a scene come together in my frame. It’s the lived in feel that permeates not only the books but the surroundings themselves. The little touches bookstore owners put into their space, little notes written with descriptions or stuffed animals hanging from the ceiling, the creases covering the old books. It feels like little bits of peoples lives’ spread all over being shared, it’s just awesome.
This store has a lot of what I mentioned up above, The Library Bookstore is about 35 years old, been through a couple owners but it’s obviously been cared for and loved. There’s at least one picture in this gallery (I won’t tell which) that just absolutely reminded me of why I love taking these photos, it’s not a terrific photo but it feels like it came right out of a memory. Located in downtown Ferndale they’ve got a wide variety of reasons to visit, so please do.
My wife and I found this bookstore due to her mother being familiar with it and we were glad we did. The staff were friendly and the store was just packed with paperbacks of all kinds. Offering trades and rental programs it’s a great community bookstore with a dedicated userbase.