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Ann Arbor—Deep. Local. Independent. Brick and mortar.

From iconic storefronts in the heart of downtown to the literary bustle of the peripheries—the book culture of Ann Arbor holds on.
           Independent can mean a lot things: free from outside control, freethinking, impartial. To be independent is to be creative and to be creative is to take risks. And while the word also implies self-sufficiency and self-reliance, it does not need to entail single-handedness. Cities must grow but the independent spirit can grow with them.
         The Ann Arbor Book Society grew out of a desire to connect the public with independent bookstores and to celebrate the community that supports them. But it quickly became apparent that the presses and the writers and the readers and the libraries and the literacy organizations rooted in this community were all vital parts of this ecosystem—and that we had a lot to celebrate.
        To celebrate is to acknowledge, observe, recognize, and remember—to assemble in order to appreciate. While book festivals and events continue to be essential gatherings in our community, celebration can also be quiet and routine, both a private conviction and public act—a walk in a park or browsing your favorite bookshelves. To celebrate is to keep alive.  
       The loss of a bookstore undoubtedly leaves a mark on a community. As centers of creativity and civility, when one door closes a balance shifts. But storefronts will come and go. As will people and the energies they bring. But the independent spirit of a community can live on.
       Walk the streets of Ann Arbor, walk into bookstores—listen—and you will still hear and see the echoes of Shaman Drum, Borders, Ardis, Wahr’s. But don’t forget to look up, too, and celebrate what is present. 

A Community Rooted In Books