A Gem of a Book Store -- Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI
If you are fortunate enough to live in Ann Arbor, and if you love books, then most surely you have paid a visit to Nicola's Books, an independent book store on the west side of Ann Arbor (2513 Jackson Ave), and you are already aware of this delightful little gem. If you have never been to Nicola's books because you don't live in Ann Arbor (the only possible reason for not going to this bookstore), then you should definitely put it on your list of places to visit when you come to town. Nicola's is not like any other bookstore. For me, walking into Nicola's is like walking into my dream home -- an organized book heaven with very knowledgeable and friendly "family members" waiting to chat about the latest novels.
Always greeted with a friendly smile, Nicola's staff is eager to help you find what you need. Even if you don't know what you are looking for, they can suggest books that you may like based on your expressed interest. The only trouble I encounter by going to Nicola's bookstore happens when I didn't think I had an interest in a particular subject, like baseball, and then see their display of baseball books and suddenly I want to read them all and become an expert! You can't help but to be pulled into the alcoves at Nicola's because of all their beautiful displays.
At Nicola's, you are welcome to look at the books at your leisure throughout the store or at the back of the store where there is a comfy couch and a fireplace, while you decide if it is the book for you. If you are looking for a particular book and Nicola's doesn't have it, they can easily order it for you without any additional charges and it will arrive in a few days. If you purchase a staff recommended book, you can go back to read more books suggested by that person, as there is a wall of "staff picks" which include a short summary of the displayed book.
Events are frequently held at Nicolas where authors come to discuss their books, answer questions and will sign a purchased copy of their book for you. Upcoming events include Michigan authors Johnathan Rand (American Chillers, Michigan Chillers), John U. Bacon (Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines) and Eileen Pollack (Breaking and Entering) to name just a few. Authors from out of town who have upcoming appearances are Adam Johnson (The Orphan Master's Son) and Lauren Willig (Pink Carnation series). A couple of previous local authors included David Small (Stitches), Jerry Dennis (The Windward Shore), Harry Dolan (Bad Things Happen, Very Bad Men) and Karen Simpson (Act of Grace). Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and author of "The Bond", was also a guest speaker not too long ago. A few years back, my dad's favorite author, Patrick McManus, came to speak at Nicolas and my dad was thrilled to listen to him talk and meet him in person!
A list of upcoming events that will take place at Nicola's can be found on their website -- www.nicolasbooks.com. You can also sign up for a monthly electronic newsletter that will inform you of upcoming events, staff recommendations, etc. And you can "like" Nicola's Books on facebook.
In addition to authors making special appearances, book characters also visit, such as Olivia (story time and dress up), Skippyjon Jones and Peter Rabbit, to name a few who stopped in this year. Children also love Nicola's as the alcove in the back has a great big chair that kids can sit on and read. And, don't forget to check out one of Ann Arbor's official 'fairy doors' located above the fireplace in the back of the store.
Community groups can also gather at Nicola's, as they offer their space, free of charge, for meetings. Nicolas also holds fundraisers with certain schools and organizations whereby a percentage of all purchases made by members are donated to the relevant organization. Individuals can also obtain book discounts with certain memberships. For example, as a Master Gardener in Washtenaw County you can receive a 10% discount on book purchases. In addition, as a frequent customer, when you spend $150.00, you receive a $6.00 discount towards a future purchase. If you choose to donate this $6.00, Nicola will match it and send the money to either the Mott's Children's Hospital library, the Salvation Army or the Washtenaw Literacy program. Nicola's also provides free gift-wrapping.
Even if you are not looking for a book, I am sure you will find something of interest at Nicola's, as the store is filled with many other fascinating items beyond books, such as household items, plush, cards, calendars, candy, magnets, bookmarks, wrapping paper and other knick-knacks.
If you haven't visited Nicola's lately, try to visit soon and support this local bookstore and you won't be disappointed. Their knowledge and passion for books can't be beat!