Interview with The Bookshop Project!

We have something exciting for you here on the blog today -- one of our close friends from college, Emma, decided to use her summer building a website called The Bookshop Project, in which she set out to interview independent bookstores from all over the world! We absolutely LOVED this idea and thought it would be cool to have Emma stop by the blog today to talk a little bit more about her project. So without further ado, let's get into it!

Emma is an English/Creative Writing student at Fordham University who has been a reader all her life and believes independent bookstores are vital to communities.
Keep up with The Bookshop Project: Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

The Book Bratz: This is such an awesome idea! What made you decide to start The Bookshop Project?
Emma: Thank you! I had a few reasons for starting The Bookshop Project-- the primary one being that I love independent bookstores so much and I am really passionate about supporting them. Over the past few weeks as I saw the COVID-19 crisis impact local businesses and independent bookstores in particular, I found myself on social media more and more posting information about supporting these shops. I believe that when you find yourself passionate about something, you should follow that passion and do something with it. I also really wanted a project for this spring and summer so that I could create something I could be proud of and practice my writing skills. With companies cancelling their internships and most jobs not looking for new hires at the moment, I decided to take matters into my own hands and give myself a project. I really hope that The Bookshop Project inspires people to shop local, support independent bookstores, understand that these shops are run by real people with interesting stories, and that through the project, I can grow as a writer.
The Book Bratz: Your first feature was with The Tattered Cover in Denver -- what made you choose that indie bookstore as the first one to highlight?
Emma: I was familiar with Tattered Cover from my experience working in marketing and publicity at a few big publishers in New York, as independent bookstores are crucial to getting the word out about new books. I knew Tattered Cover was very established and organized, but that people in my circle of family and friends might not have heard of them before. The Tattered Cover team, especially owner Len Vlahos, were very prompt and professional, and they were so great to work with. 

The Book Bratz: What was the best indie bookstore that you've ever visited? 
Emma: That's so hard to answer! I have a few favorites, though. My local bookstore, Bookateria Two in Ocean City, NJ; carries a combination of used books and new releases. The entire place smells like old books and the shelves go up to the ceiling, so it's like a bookworm's paradise. I've found some great hidden gems there. I also have to shout out my favorite bookstore that I found while I was studying abroad in London, The Minster Gate Bookshop in York. That shop had seven rooms (each dedicated to a different genre) across four stories and the whole building felt very old and whimsical.

The Book Bratz: What's your dream indie bookstore to work with through The Bookshop Project?
Emma: I would LOVE to work with The Lit.Bar in the Bronx. They are currently the only indie bookstore in the Bronx and have such an interesting story. I have ordered a few books from them during quarantine and would really love for people to support them. However, I completely understand that this is a stressful time for booksellers, so not everyone may have the time for an interview.

The Book Bratz: Have you learned anything interesting or surprising through interviewing these bookstores?
Emma: I think the sheer amount and quality of virtual programming that these shops put on is amazing. These events are all free and open to the public, and more people should definitely check them out. The first shop I interviewed, Tattered Cover, does a weekly concert every Friday featuring "The Bookshop Band," which I think is such a fun idea. I hope people know that these resources are available to them.

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on expanding The Bookshop Project in the future? Where do you see it going?
Emma: For now, I want to focus on the blog and getting that established, but I have expanded a bit into social media. In the future, I think it would be interesting to try another medium like podcasting or online video, but like I said, that would be after I've built the blog up a bit more.

The Book Bratz: How can an indie bookstore contact you if they're interested in being featured on The Bookshop Project?
Emma: Send me an email at! Also, if anyone knows an indie bookstore that they would like to see get a little more love, please let me know and I will reach out to them.

Thank you so much to Emma for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about The Bookshop Project, and if you are too, you can check it out here!

Do you know of an indie bookstore that you think Emma should interview? You can contact here by clicking here!

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