April's Indie Bookstore: Shaman Drum
As you can see on the right side of the page, our featured indie bookstore for the month of April is Shaman Drum Bookshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Karl Pohrt and I are good friends (he’s actually on the advisory committee for Open Letter as well), and worked together to help launch the Reading the World program.
Although Karl and his store have been mentioned on Three Percent dozens of times, I really wanted to specially feature Shaman Drum this month to bring attention to a few different things, both good and frightening.
First off, as you may have heard, Shaman Drum has run into a bit of trouble. Back in February, Karl wrote a letter to the Ann Arbor Chronicle detailing the plight of the store and the fact that textbook sales were down $510,000 from the previous year and that the store might not survive.
After a trip to Nicaragua, he wrote a second letter saying that he would do all he could to keep the bookstore going.
During that trip he met Ernesto Cardenal, whose Pluriverse came out earlier this year from New Directions. Cardenal is going to be in Ann Arbor later this month, and we’re planning on running info and interviews from that event here on Three Percent.
Also in terms of good news, not everyone knows about this yet, but it looks like instead of a traditional Reading the World program this year, we’ll instead be having a RTW party at Idlewild Books in NYC on Thursday, May 28th in honor of Karl. Soo Jin and Declan from New Directions have been working on this, and I’ll make a special post with all the details in the near future. We’re hoping to have someone interview Karl about his life in bookselling, and we’re also planning on having a raffle to benefit Shaman Drum, RTW, and Idlewild.
In addition to linking all book titles to Shaman Drum’s online catalog, we’re hoping to post more information about the store, its history, employees, etc. Since this is one of “those stores” that people remember fondly for years and years, if any of you have any stories about S.D. that you’d like to share, please e-mail them to chad.post at rochester dot edu, or simply post them in the comments below.