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The collectible editions in Paper Trail Books in Royal Oak, MI

If I ran my own bookstore, it would be dog friendly. My brothers have joked that it will be an open invitation to disaster. “Oh sorry, some books smell like dog piss. They’re discounted.” I’m sticking to it, though. I like dogs. I’ll probably keep one of my own around, too.

My dream bookstore is very much… a dream. I’m in no position to start up that kind of business and I’m personally not ready to root myself to a place anyhow. This fantasy also excludes the fact that physical bookstores are fighting elevating rent prices and the popularity of online shopping. I’ve read in some articles that independent bookstores are doing better than the big chains, but who can say for sure. I’d like to believe they’re doing a comeback. Independent bookstores certainly have unique qualities that no big chain has, such as their connection to the community and the personality of the shopkeeper shining through the decorations and the organization (or lack thereof).

Say that money isn’t an issue and I let my imagination run wild for a moment.

I’ll carry mostly used books and there will be a selection of new releases as well. The focus in that area won’t cover all the genres under the sun, however, I’ll exclusively sell fantasy, sci fi, mythology, feminism, poetry, philosophy, metaphysics, supernatural and the like. As for used books, I’ll accept everything, except books about Trump. I will also sell rarities, signed copies, first editions and that sort of thing.

You’ll have a chill seating area and some chairs strewn about the store in case you need to rest your feet. Maybe there will be a piano and/or a table where you can play chess and other board games.

There will be coffee and cake, of course. Nothing crazy, because a cafe is its own business and I don’t want it to overrun the bookish side of things. I’ll have a bar area in the corner where you can get yourself a lovely espresso, hot chocolate, a cup of tea or whatever brew you need. I’d keep a ten-item selection of baked goods, which are rotated throughout the year. So for example, in the winter you have the option of Swedish gingerbread cookies and there will be strawberry shortcake in the summer. I will always serve kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon rolls) throughout the year.

I’ll have plants, hopefully a lot natural sunlight and pictures of different writers (Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley). I also plan to keep paintings and some other art pieces if they aren’t too cumbersome by local artists, all of which are up for sale. I’d love to give people the exposure and the chance to make some money.

There will be a pinboard near the entrance which may be used by everyone. Friendly notes, advertisement for local businesses, band gigs, looking for a roommate, have you seen this cat?, club meetings and so forth. As long as you check with me or whomever I leave in charge at the time, you can use the board.

Finally there will be readings, signings and book club meetings.

The only thing missing from this dream bookstore is a name. Can you think of anything?

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