It's #IndieThursday once again! This week we're celebrating a very special store: Kid's Ink in Indianapolis, IN. The owner, Shirley Mullin, kindly agreed to chat with us about the store she has run for over 25 years.
Welcome, Shirley! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us about your store. Can you start by telling us what makes Kid’s Ink unique? I don’t think of Kids Ink as being especially unique. We’re like many other children’s stores that emphasize quality literature with a dedicated staff of readers. One thing does continually amaze me in that Kids Ink seems to have a place in the community that totally transcends my ownership. I really like that many people do not know who owns the store but just seem to think it just is and always will be!
Give us a virtual tour—what do we see when we first walk in? Is there a certain section that jumps out at us? You can take a virtual tour on ourwebsite. We have two large Playmobil figures that greet our customers outside…one is outside the back door and one is at the front. The Princess and the Pirate didn’t seem to like each other so now they each have their separate positions. Kids Ink is thirty percent toys so walking though the front door one sees puppets first and a big wall that currently has recommendations from staff grandchildren…a grand total of 19.
And, no tour is complete without visiting our bathroom with walls covered with author signatures, notes, and drawings. Lunch Lady is above the toilet saying “You better wash your hands!”
How do you match a child or a parent with a book? What questions do you ask?
We typically ask children what they’ve read that they really liked or what kind of books they like to hear. If possible, we always try to have the conversation with the child. Then it’s easy to begin with, “If you liked
What are your favorite titles to hand sell right now?
We’re really enjoying Grumbles from the Forest by Rebecca Dotlich and Jane Yolen. It’s a very fresh take on fairy tales.
Does your bookstore coordinate school visits with authors? Or do you work with local teachers and librarians in some other way?
We coordinate many author visits with schools. This spring we provided books for visits from Jarrett Krosoczka, Rebecca Dotlich, April Pulley Sayre, Matthew Cody, Claudia Mills, and Mike Mullin. We also sold at a number of conferences. One of our favorites was a conference for teens at the Anderson Public Library. The speakers included Steve Shenkin, Mike Mullin, and Stephanie Bodeen.
One of the most personally rewarding events in the last two years has been hosting the launch parties for Ashfall and Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin. Ashen Winter is simply dedicated “To Mom.” I’m that mom…a very proud mom.
Why specialize in children’s books? I’ve spent all of my life with children’s books! I was an avid reader as a child with little access to books. Through a 4-H publication, I found that I could order books from the Nebraska State Library. One librarian helped me chose books via the mail. I always wrote her notes about what I liked and didn’t like and she would respond with the next packet of books. This was a free service and a life-line for an isolated farm kid.
So, it was a natural progression to become first a teacher and then go to library school and become a librarian and finally open a children’s bookstore 27 years ago.
Do you sell books on your website? We just went to the IndieCommerce site so we could sell books on the site but it’s been slow to take off. Need to work on that!
Why are independent bookstores so important to the future of reading and literacy?Independent stores expand the choices for whatever you are purchasing. We have books that are not found in big box stores.
Find Kid's Ink:
This link is fun...we’re being featured in the Delta Sky Magazine!
Thanks so much for chatting with us, Shirley!
Have an indie bookstore you want us to feature? Let us know!