April is Open Letter Month at Quail Ridge Books!

Way back in the last millennium, I worked for a time at Quail Ridge Books, the best independent bookstore in Raleigh and, at that time at least, probably the whole Triangle. I started as a general bookseller, worked in receiving, and designed the “International Fiction” section before leaving for Dalkey Archive Press.

Years later, I still look back on my time at QRB—and North Carolina in general—as one of the best moments of my life. I loved working there, even if the customers found some of my personal selections a “bit too edgy.” Such a great staff, good ownership, solid location and reputation in the community—everything an independent bookstore should be. (Sidenote: Quail Ridge won Publisher Weekly’s “Bookstore of the Year” award the year after I left.)

Fast forward almost two decades, and I was back in North Carolina, for the first time in forever, attending ABA’s Winter Institute in Asheville. Thanks to Consortium—our distributor and another company I love—we actually had an author in attendance. Naja Marie Aidt, whose novel Rock, Paper, Scissors comes out in August, was there signing books, charming booksellers, and enjoying the spa at the unbelievably swanky Omni Grove Park Inn.

As part of Winter Institute activities, Consortium had arranged a special dinner that Naja and I were able to attend, along with a number of indie booksellers, including, much to my surprise, Sarah Goddin, my former boss at Quail Ridge!

It was a lot of fun to catch up and talk about all the changes at the store—and all the things that have remained the same. One of the new things that QRB was starting was the “Quail Ridge Celebrates Small Presses” program, through which, they’ll highlight a bunch of titles from a particular small press—both online and in the store—each month, starting with . . . Open Letter!

So, yesterday—and I’ve been assured this wasn’t some devious April Fools’ joke—Quail Ridge kicked things off with this online post featuring ten of our titles.

Obviously, you should buy all ten, or at least a couple. It’s so important for indie presses and indie bookstores to support one another, so even if you’re not in North Carolina, just order one book from QRB’s website this month. The more successful this program is, the more able they will be to highlight various small presses from across the country. And then, hopefully, indie bookstores across the country will pick up on this idea and everything will be amazing.

And if you are lucky enough to live in Raleigh-Durham, you really should visit QRB. I swear, if there were a bookstore like that within the area, I would be there all the time. Bookstores are my favorite places . . .

Oh, and while you’re there visiting, find Tony, ask him for a recommendation (he has seriously good taste and will do right by you), and then, after politely purchasing a book, let him know that, you’re very sorry, but Liverpool is definitely going to get rolled by Arsenal this weekend. Good luck finishing top four next year!

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