MYSTERY TO ME, New bookstore in Madison Wisconsin
There is a new mystery bookstore in Madison Wis and this makes us quite happy.
We asked owner Joanne Berg a few questions:
Crimespree: Before Booked for Murder was up for sale had you ever considered owning a bookstore before?
Joanne: Ever since I was 12 years old when my big sister showed up with a pile of books left behind by a co-worker, I wanted to own a bookstore. I begged my parents for shelving and then commenced alphabetizing them by author (of course). And then I took to reading them – most of them classics. Not sure why I never went the library route but I always liked the idea of a community bookstore.
Crimespree: I think the new name and new location is a great idea. How did you come up with the name?
Joanne: Mystery to me…
Crimespree: Do you have anything special planned to help draw in business?
Joanne: This coming weekend I will be hosting a writers’ slam — 22 authors, fifteen minutes each, over four days! Lots of fun.
I had quite a number of local authors pop into the store when I first opened asking if I was going to be an outlet for them. I put them off with various excuses about getting the store up and running and then pondered how I would choose where to begin. Alas, the idea for a “slam” was born. I have poets, published authors and story tellers coming to the store.
In addition to things like the “slam,” I will be scheduling Skype visits with authors who can’t make it to the store for a personal visit. I’m finalizing details of a Skype visit with Craig Johnson later this fall. I’m testing the Skype idea this weekend (a fifteen minute Skype)… Wish me luck
Crimespree: It’s early days of course, but so far what do you love about being a bookseller?
Joanne: The variety of readers. People love their favorite authors and I love to see their eyes light up when they’re told that THEIR favorite author is coming to the store or coming out with a new book. I also like to hear them educate me about what I should have in the store. People really want to be part of a success story so I’m doing the best I can to make them all be active participants. I also love the kids. There are a lot of young people in the neighborhood who love to read. I’m learning all about Encyclopedia Brown! The young adult readers are fascinating. They are loving the Veronica Roth trilogy and the book “Transparent” has been a big hit. The YA also love to tell me about what I should carry in the store. It’s always fun for me to talk with 10-12 year olds who ask me if I’ve ever read Nancy Drew… really? So I tell them that it’s been awhile and ask them to talk about their favorite… it’s quite fun.
I also love to rearrange books and watch how people are attracted to various displays (or not)…
Crimespree: Are you a long time fan of the mystery genre? Absolutely.
Joanne: I do love to read first novels – there is something fresh about them but then I also love to dive into the classics like DuMaurier and Collins. In fact I just bought The Moonstone for the store (it just needs to be there…)
Crimespree: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Joanne: Whoa — That’s tough. When it comes right down to it, every good book has little big of mystery — so I just scanned my bookshelves for a few favorites… you asked! And you should see my “gotta read this…” pile.
Susan Wittig Albert
I promise I don’t have a favorite author. It depends on my mood, the weather, the moon (?) who knows…