"We hope it will be someone local," she continues. "We hope they keep the staff on"--she calls them "friends." The book world in Ann Arbor is a small one, and everyone knows each other. As for Literati, "we're trying to be the best bookstore we can be. We had a great first year: we surpassed what we projected for year three, so we've come up with a whole new list of projections. We've been able to hire two full-time employees"--manager Jeanne Joesten and events coordinator John Ganiard.
From the beginning, the Gustafsons recognized that a downtown bookstore can no longer make its nut on a customer base of bibliophiles who spend hours browsing the shelves--those customers are the icing on the cake. Curating social media and planning events are serious business here, and the website has a shopping cart, allowing customers to support their local downtown bookstore in a virtual way. "Of course, lots of people also shop online then pick up items at the store," Hilary says.
Literati's sales over the holidays reflected the Gustafsons' marketing efforts. In addition to (of course) The Goldfinch, their bestsellers were books they promoted by in-store events: Poetry in Michigan/Michigan in Poetry, a collection illustrated by works of Michigan artists, and Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football, by local author John U. Bacon.