I took both an internet vacation and a real vacation, and went to Detroit. This post is to let you know that I'll resume with Small Press Holiday Recommendations tomorrow, Tuesday November 23rd. Meanwhile, I wanted to share a small press gem I discovered in Motor City.
When I came upon it, Leopold's Books had just closed for the day--so, sadly, I did not get to go inside and browse. But I loved the look of the sign and the tiny, impeccable shop (located on the ground floor of a gorgeous old apartment building), so I looked it up on the world wide web today and I loved everything I read about it. The shop bravely opened a little over a year ago in Midtown Detroit (just across the street from the Detroit Institute of the Arts and Wayne State University). Their philosophy (both of how to survive and how to curate) reminds me of that of Copacetic Comics (Pittsburgh)--both stores run a very tight ship in a modest space, selling only books the owners know, love, and can personally recommend. They know their customer base and they play directly to that, offering a kind of specialized knowledge and personalized selection that chain stores and Amazon can't. Leopold's blog claims, "This is a strategy all small retailers can use to combat their giant, wealthy competitors. We can afford to be specialist experts, whereas they must be conforming generalists."
Leopold's sells a select array of local zines, magazines, graphic novels, art books, fiction and nonfiction. They also hold regular reading events ranging from local poets to out-of-towners on book tours. Recent events have featured Seth Tobocman of World War Three comics, poet Carla Harryman, and graphic novelists Jim Munroe and Shannon Gerald. One blogger raved about a rooftop reading for Counterpoint author Peter Lewis.
Emphasizing discovery and face-outs, Leopold's hopes you'll come inside because you trust their taste, and leave with a book you didn't know existed when you walked in.