Tell us about your bookstore. Your name and position. Where you are located and what genres you carry?
My bookstore is called Book Teas, Indie Author Book Source. I am Author Co Kane, owner, publisher, and author. I am located at 907A Gamble St Tallahassee, FL 32310 and we specialize in all genres including poetry, cookbooks, inspirational reads as well as full children, tweens and teens area.
What inspired you to launch your bookstore?
My inspiration came from the fact that there weren’t many black owned bookstores, blacks don’t read enough and I found it hard getting my books in bigger bookstore chains. Book Teas was created with the indie/self-published author in mind, catering to their readers by delivering quality paperback books to their communities. Book Teas will also be home to Books and Boys Initiative, which will strive to bring African-American boys back to creative writing and reading comprehension.
Can readers purchase books from you online?
Yes, readers can purchase books online and pickup in store.
What authors have you worked with and which one did you enjoy the most?
There are quite a few authors that I work with consistently, and I enjoy them all for different reasons but Author Chunichi was the most pleasant experience. I reached out to an Essence Bestselling Author and she received me like an equal as opposed to an author beneath her. That really stood out.
What type of books do your customers enjoy most?
I like all books but I enjoy fiction but true to life books. The stories with a message as opposed to sensationalized lies that only entertain.
How do authors and publishers contact to you for book signings and to pitch their books for placement in your stores?
All authors can visit our website http://www.bookteas.com/consignment and find out how to submit their books for sale in the store. Book signings can also be scheduled on the website and the day and time purchased. The website is fully equipped with everything that authors and readers need.
What has been one of the challenges of running a bookstore?
Advertising dollars and support from my alma mater, Florida A&M University. I presumed that the university that I graduated from would be more involved with my store but I have pitched it to the newspaper staff and no one has contacted me for an interview or to drop in and view the store. I am literally in walking distance of the very place I obtained my undergrad degrees and receive no support or mention whatsoever. In terms of advertising, the store would need to increase sales to purchase ad space, and without ad space, I can’t increase the traffic into the store.
If you had any advice for authors and publishers, what would it be?
To support all independent black owned bookstores, bookstores period. A small donation and mention would increase sales on all fronts: for authors, publishers and the store itself.
If you had any advice for future book sellers, what would it be?
To research the market that you’re thinking of opening a store in thoroughly, and make sure that the community wants to read. People will always say they don’t have time to read so make them make time to read.
Please share with us how authors can contact you via email and social media?
IG: @Cokane_addiction, @Bookteas
Tiah Short is the Founder of Urban Literary Review and CEO of DC Bookdiva Publications, Find her online at dcbookdiva.com.