I became acquainted with Nicole Sullivan, Founder and Owner of BookBar in Denver, at the Book Expo of America 2015. I still read mostly non digital books and love myself a real bookstore, and loved the concept behind BookBar. More below on BookBar, Nicole, and how she supports indie authors and her community!
Jennifer Bowen: Tell us about yourself and how you started BookBar.
Nicole Sullivan: I started BookBar when a bookstore in my current space went out of business. I was determined to see an independent bookstore succeed in this neighborhood, pedestrian friendly space. I didn’t have any previous bookselling or business owning experience but was looking for an investment and some next steps after my kids went off to school. I had always been a big reader and a huge book advocate so things fell into place.
JB: Why books and wine? Or rather, why not, it’s a great idea!!
NS: Yes, why not books and wine? I had long thought that this was a natural combination and would make for a great business plan. Especially after having children, I realized the value of having a place where one could comfortably go read books, drink a glass of wine and host their book clubs conveniently.
JB: BookBar is an independent bookstore. Can you let us know what your definition of that is?
NS: An independent bookstore is one that is locally and independently owned (not corporate owned); one that is curated by the owner / staff and reflects the community in which it is located.
JB: How do you compete with people who would rather buy on Amazon? I see besides the brick and mortar store, people can buy books online with you.
NS: The best way to compete with Amazon or any big box stores that sell books is to provide an experience that is very difficult for our competitors to replicate. By providing a comfortable, neighborhood community experience we can cater to our customers who are seeking something more valuable than just a quick, convenient deal.
JB: How do you read these days? The actual physical book or e-reader or both?
NS: I definitely read actual books. Not that I’m against e-readers. I am happy to see people reading, no matter what their chosen medium. But for me, personally, I much more enjoy the tactile experience that comes with reading a physical book: the weight, the feel, the smell of pages, the cover art, the act of bookmarking.
JB: I see you have a lot of community outreach/building on your site. Can you talk to me about that?
NS: We are very involved with our community, as I think every bookseller should be. Book inventory should be a dialogue with a bookstores’ community. I think any small business should give back to the community. It’s one of the things that small businesses can do well that corporations really can’t or won’t. One of the things we do is host local book clubs, storytimes for kids, bring in authors for school visits and give back to local organizations.
JB: Are you a writer yourself?
NS: Oh heavens, no, I’m not a writer. I enjoy writing but I’ve got my hands full with running business and raising little kids.
JB: Do you sell self-published books? If so, how does an indie author go about introducing themselves to you?
NS: We do have self-published books. We have a consignment program for local (Colorado) authors. You can read about it here http://www.bookbardenver.com/local-authors
JB: Any last thoughts on why indie bookstores are important?
NS: Indie booksellers are hugely important. I strongly believe that every community should have one since it can serve as an ideal place for the community to gather around literature. If you happen to be a bookstore that serves food and drink then it can be a wonderful center to exchange ideas and build collaborations.
BookBar is located at 4280 Tennyson Street in Denver, Colorado.
For more info: http://www.bookbardenver.com/
BookHive does beta reader editorial research for authors. https://www.bookhivecorp.com
Please enjoy the coupon code BOOKBAR for $100 off our services for the BookBar Community to enjoy!
Jennifer Bowen, QueenBee (more fun than CEO), of BookHive Corp.