A New Downtown Bookstore!
Literati: In the Works
by Sally Mitani
Hilary Lowe and her fiance and business partner Mike Gustafson hope their new bookstore, Literati, will be open by spring. They have signed a lease for 2,600 square feet (basement and first floor) of 124 E. Washington, next to Amadeus. At that size, says Lowe, "we're not going to have every section that Borders had, but we'll try to have as diverse an inventory as possible. We want to focus on literary fiction and award-winning nonfiction. We'll have depth in those two areas." (Her name, by the way, rhymes with "wow"--she says it was originally the Dutch name Louw, rejiggered by various generations.)
As literary Ann Arborites know, the couple started a blog about the project even before they moved to Ann Arbor (where Mike has family) last July. The mission statement posted there reads: "In a world where anyone and everyone can write and publish a book, where blogs update twenty times before noon, where you fire off hundreds of emails by the end of the day, we think high value should be placed on thoughtful, carefully crafted writing."
To what extent blogging can cross-fertilize their bricks-and-mortar business remains to be seen, but within a day or two of signing the lease, they had 174 "likes" and ninety-six people "talking about this" on their Facebook page.
[Originally published in February, 2013.]