Friday, June 26, 2015

Itinerant Literate Bookmobile Opening in Charleston

Shelf Awareness

Itinerant Literate Books is "a two-woman pop-up and mobile bookseller which will operate out of an Airstream trailer in the upper peninsula," the Charleston, S.C., City Paper reported. For now, co-owners Julia Turner and Christen Thompson "are exclusively doing pop-up events around town, but they plan to have their bookmobile up and running by the fall."

The women met in 2012 at the Denver Publishing Institute, and subsequently worked together at the History Press in Charleston, where they conceived their mobile bookshop idea. "We'd had a conversation about opening a bookstore," Thompson said. "It happened weirdly naturally and slowly. It would be little things we'd see in Shelf Awareness... or seeing these little ideas for really cool things bookstores were doing. We'd say, 'We wish there was a bookstore here doing that.' "

Turner added: "I think at one time we were talking about a seven-year plan. Five seemed too short and 10 seemed too long." But as they prepared for this year's ABA Winter Institute, Thompson and Turner "brainstormed some options for how to get their store off the ground so that they'd be able to get feedback and advice from other booksellers at the conference," City Paper wrote. 

"We were like, 'How can we prove we're serious about this before we actually have a space?' " Turner said. "We thought about doing pop-up events, maybe having a trailer we could sell out of. Then we decided we should just do everything mobile--do a bookmobile."

Inspired by feedback from WI10, they returned energized and have been hosting pop-up events ever since. In August, Itinerant Literate will launch a $65,000 crowdfunding campaign to purchase and outfit an Airstream for their mobile bookstore.

"We don't want to be just the bookstore that we want--we want to be the bookstore that the community wants and needs," Thompson said.

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