Booksweet will be opening early next month at 1729 Plymouth Rd. in Ann Arbor, Mich., site of the former Bookbound Bookstore, which recently closed. WDIV-4 reported that for co-owners Shaun Manning and Truly Render, the shop "is a passion project the couple has been dreaming about for over a decade." Booksweet is hosting a soft opening August 6 and a community open house on August 12.
"Shaun and I have been talking about this for about 15 years," said Render. "We are lovers of books, avid readers, and reading and writing has always been a very important part of our lives."
Bookbound's closure, while upsetting, became an opportunity. "We were actually frequent customers of Bookbound," she added. "This summer, when we saw that they were closing and they were not super impacted by pandemic realities... I said to Shaun: 'What if we bought it?' We reached out to Peter and Megan [Blackshear] and they've been incredibly generous throughout the process."
Manning and Render are purchasing Bookbound's inventory "and are already working on bringing more inventory in. Part of the new orders will be an expanded middle grade and YA section," WDIV-4 noted.
"We have a middle school child so we really want to make sure our graphic novel section is robust," Render said.
"I've been fortunate enough to work with books in some capacity for most of my adult life," Manning observed. His background includes working in the publishing department of the Art Institute of Chicago and more recently for the University of Michigan Press. He has published several graphic novels and short comics.
Booksweet's owners "aim to curate titles that speak to the community's interests and to create a welcoming and affirming environment to all who walk through their doors," WDIV-4 noted.
"We're small, we're personal and we live on the north side so you're not just our customers, you're our neighbors," Render said. "We really do live that and we feel that."