Online ordering and local pickup make buying a breeze
by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Although the Bookin’ It storefront closed May 15, the book shop business has continued using its webpage.
Bookin’ It owner Laura Hansen and the Great River Arts Association (GRAA) are collaborating to provide literary arts items at the arts center.
“Scott Wonderlich (GRAA board president) contacted me and asked if I were interested in doing a kiosk,” Hansen said. “Their feeling was that a different kind of item would bring in a different kind of foot traffic. It’s mutually beneficial.”
Bookin’ It closed in response to the current state of the economy and to changes in the book industry, Hansen said.
“The move to online shopping and eBooks made a difference,” she said. “I held out for our 20th anniversary last year.”
When it came time to apply for a “going out of business sale” permit, Hansen had specified that only the storefront was closing.
“I did have the intention of keeping my website alive, hoping to find a local pickup point for customers to save shipping,” she said. “This is just a creative way to use the book knowledge and book experience I’ve gained over the years.”
A number of volumes are displayed at the arts center for people to buy. Customers can also browse online. Orders can be placed online for pickup at GRAA or for dirrect home delivery.
“If people have questions or are looking for something different, they can phone me at my house,” Hansen said.
Orders have been placed from Texas, New York and Canada already.
Hansen has maintained her contemporary fiction book club, which meets monthly. The book selections are available at GRAA or online.
She has also stayed in contact with publishers and through those relationships, she continues to assist schools and nonprofits with ordering new books and acquiring donated books.
Hansen’s connection with books began at a very young age.
“I was in love with and fascinated with words — the mix and play of words and the power they have,” she said. “My favorite genres are literary fiction, mysteries, poetry and memoirs. I especially love international mysteries because they take me where I can’t afford to go.”
“It seems like a really good fit,” said GRAA Executive Director Jill Moore. “Literary arts is a real accessible art form for people, and the atmosphere that we have here is really conducive to book arts.”
“Bringing a kiosk here to GRAA gives them more incentive to bring other literary activities here, such as writing workshops, author readings and book signings,” said Hansen. “I was previously on the board and have maintained my connection. It’s nice to find ways to contribute, new ways to benefit the organization.”
“Books tend to bring people in the door. To be able to add literary arts to what we already offer — the performing arts (both theater and concert), visual arts, arts education and the retail art gallery — increases our visibility,” Moore said. “It exposes people to art they would not typically be exposed to. Books are another attraction for them.”
“The things they do here (at GRAA) bring a vitality to the community,” Hansen said. “They are offerings we wouldn’t have otherwise. Local shops make a community; local arts make a vibrant community.”
The arts center is open Wednesday – Friday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
For more information, visit www.bookinitnow.com or call (320) 632-8841.