Interview with a Bookstore: Michigan’s McLean and Eakin
Literary Community in Petoskey
McLean and Eakin is a small independent bookstore in Petoskey, Michigan that offers books, comics, record players, and vinyl.
What’s your favorite section of the store?
The Quirk section. It’s our version of a Humor section, but sometimes includes items from The Oatmeal or Steven Colbert that we don’t think customers would stumble across as easily somewhere else in the store.
What would you say is your bookstore’s specialty?
Do you have bookstore pets or animal regulars?
Edith is our store dog. She has taught people not to judge a pit bull by its “pitty-ness.” She’s shy, quiet, lets toddlers jump on her, and gets Valentines in the mail. Sometimes people come to see her and don’t even shop for books.
If you had infinite space what would you add?
An adult bounce house. Or an atrium reserved for quiet reading after purchase.
What’s been the biggest surprise about running a bookstore?
Garbage cans. They have an incredible versatility! They can serve as water collectors, bat nets, and ice buckets too!
Tell us about your most memorable author event.
Patrick Rothfuss, Ernest Cline, 8-bit video games projected onto a screen, and Ernest’s DeLorian parked out front for the launch of Ready Player One and the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicle. Standing room only, and not a frown in the house.
How do you use the bookstore to build community?
We think it’s vital that our inventory reflects the bipartisan reality of our community members and customers. Our hope is that all voters can find something to learn in our store.
Have you felt any shift in what it means to be a bookseller under the Trump administration?
It suddenly feels like standing up for basic human decency is a radical stance. In that case, we’re okay with being radical.
For places with children’s sections: What’s a children’s book that made you cry/that you think all adults should read?
The Giving Tree.
What’s a bestseller that could only be big in your town?
When Evil Came to Good Hart by Mardi Jo Link.