This week, Amazon is holding its annual Prime Day sale, drawing even more eyes and dollars to one of the world’s largest retailers. If we’re all being honest, it is exceptionally difficult to resist the lure of Big A entirely — though there is a book for that, if you’re keen — but we are extraordinarily grateful to readers who are able to choose Booksweet.
Your decision and privilege to shop with us is not only a fun and affirming one (we hope), but your support allows us to show up for our community with you. As business owners, we do this through working with local vendors, local non-profits, local authors, local schools and libraries, and local community partners. As community members who make our living through the shop, your dollars go right back into the community when we shop other local businesses. We stand in solidarity with you. We are because you are.
Here are some recent local highlights from the past few months:
- Our “I Love Banned Books” t-shirts and stickers, envisioned by local designer Shalin Berman and printed by VGKids in Ypsilanti, with proceeds supporting PEN America’s research into our nation’s recent surge in Book Bans (essential for court cases and public education!)
- Our Ann Arbor Summer Festival storytime programming in the KidZone tent, presenting local picturebook authors Stacie Sheldon (co-founder of Ojibwe.net), Kyunghee Kim, Aya Khalil, Erin Leary, Kelly Baptist, and Debbie Taylor
- Our community partnerships with Black Men Read (with a FREE Book Party for families coming up at the shop on 8/11!), Michigan Medicine’s Psychiatric In-Patent units (youth and adult), Stand With Trans, and so many others.
- The delightful scents of Ypsilanti-based Bookend Candles, cute stickers by Big Moods and Taneko Says Hello, and many others
- Our shop window mural, “Welcome to Booksweet Land” by local artist Lauren McHale
- Our in-shop conversations and sponsorship of United Way’s 21 Day Equity Challenge
- All of our super fun in-store and pop-up events. (There’s still a few tickets left for the 7/14 tween writing workshop with local author Sondra Soderberg!)
Truthfully, there’s likely folks and initiatives that we’re missing in this list because we never do these things to keep tally. There’s no “checking off a list” here. We prioritize local out of a need to feel a sense of (and a reality of!) belonging, and because we have a genuine unbridled enthusiasm for people in our community doing amazing things. We’re motivated by connection.
This little community bookstore is also how Booksweet owners Shaun and Truly pay their bills. It is the food on our table and it pays our rent at both business and home. While we love the shop like a family member, work is not a luxury for us. It is not a hobby or a “cute look.” It is a necessity and the shop is evidence of years of scraping, saving, and trying (so much trying). Our business theory is simple: when you show up for the community, they show up for you.
So when we enjoy a family meal at our Courtyard Shop friends Exotic Bakeries, Ayse’s Cafe, Cardamom, Saica, or Banh Mi Street Food, or grab a treat from Coco Tea, Songbird, or Go! Ice Cream, or pick up goods from Carpenter Bros. hardware, the Manning-Render family puts what we earn at Booksweet back into Washtenaw County, supporting local businesses, their employees, and their families.
It’s true there are some things Amazon does that we simply can’t. But we like to think what we’re building with you at Booksweet is something special, that there is value in creating and nurturing a local community of readers, change-makers, and loving neighbors.
So thank you, readers, for choosing Booksweet.
— Shaun and Truly