Visiting the Indies Chapter Two: Purple Tree Books in Cheboygan, Michigan

My son-in-law is from the Philadelphia area.  When he and my daughter toured northern Michigan recently, he told her that he had heard of Cheboygan and thought it was a fictional place.

Works of fiction (and nonfiction) have an adorable place to hang out before they are purchased in this real town at Purple Tree Books.  This sparkling amethyst is located in heart of downtown Cheboygan on Main Street, slipping into the place of Log Mark Book Store.  Purple Tree Books opened in late September, 2013, and it has hit the ground running, scheduling Michigan author signings just about every week.  Emily Clare is a wonderful host and a knowledgeable bookseller, having studied her trade at Horizon Books in Petosky.

The changing of the name from Log Mark Book Store, which had been in the community for a number of years, to Purple Tree Books has more meaning than a change of identity.  Emily’s niece was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was six days old.  Purple is the awareness color for this incurable genetic disease, and Emily named the store to enhance that awareness in honor of her niece.  All donations from the self-service coffee provided in-store go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

It was a drizzly, grey afternoon when I appeared on November 9, 2013 after my annual trip to Traverse City for the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan conference.  I signed copies of The Y in Life, met customers, and shared a fun afternoon with Emily and Grey Wolfe Publishing’s Associate Publisher, Diana Plopa.  My first visit to Purple Tree Books was as a guest author to do a book signing and to feed my book addiction.  It is now a must-stop when I make my travels to the northern part of Michigan.

Cheboygan may be a fictional place to those outside of Michigan, but a great true story has begun in this Northern Michigan town, authored by Emily Clare called Purple Tree Books.

Purple Tree Books
334 North Main Street
Cheboygan, MI  49721

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Photo by Diana Plopa
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Photo by Diana Plopa
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Emily Clare, Mike, Diana Plopa
Photo by Christopher Chagnon

Visiting the Indies Chapter One: Brilliant Books in Traverse City, MI

I love book stores.  I especially love independent book stores.  These are businesses where the owners have a true love for their product.  They care about books because they love books.  Their business is focused on their community and the readers within it.  And they are knowledgeable about the vast area of books and authors and publishing houses.

And though Borders had grown to become a large chain before it closed, each store had a knowledgeable staff and it’s own character.  I know.  I tried to apply for a position at the Borders in Novi, but was not qualified to become an employee.  They had a pre-employment test about authors and books and their subjects, which I must not have passed.  As for independence, I could only purchase my annual “Haiku: Japanese Art and Poetry” calendar at the Birmingham store because it was the only one in the Metro Detroit area to carry it.

The current chains are not like that.  My experience of them have been that books are fungible items, and from my observations the staff always rely on the computer to locate the book a customer seeks.

With The Y in Life now released, and as promotional efforts move forward, I’ll be sharing my photos of signing books at these wonderful establishments.

On November 6th, 2013, Brilliant Books in Traverse City, Michigan stocked The Y in Life.  I was in town for a conference so I stopped by to sign the copies they had on their shelf.

Brilliant Books is a relatively new book store in downtown Traverse City.  They have a great selection of books, including a solid bookcase of works by Michigan authors.  They offer a membership club that grants a variety of discounts, and they provide free shipping for orders.  They also provide a Surprise Book of the Month program where, for a fee, they will send you a book each month that, based on your reading preferences, will be a surprise pick by the store.  With the City Opera House just a few doors down and the National Writers Series an event at the Opera House featuring authors, Brilliant Books also has a collection of signed editions available for sale.

Brilliant Books
118 Front Street
Traverse City, MI  49684

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(Special thanks to Jack and Jodie for your kindness and hospitality, and to the store for carrying The Y in Life).