Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Turning a Page at McLean &...
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Turning a Page at McLean & Eakin Booksellers

Rick Coates - November 25th, 2013  

It has been 21 years since Julie Norcross opened the doors to McLean & Eakin Booksellers in downtown Petoskey. Her son and daughter-in-law Matt and Jessilyn Norcross bought the store from her four years ago. Despite a changing marketplace in the book industry, the store continues to flourish.

“We have tried to follow my mother’s philosophy and that is not to go to war on price but to go to war on customer service,” said Matt Norcross. “She never chased discounts, she chased customer service.

“We received the best compliment to date from a customer through an email they recently sent when they complimented us on our service and stated, ‘Your staff made it feel like it was a life or death matter to find the right book for me.’ I think that sums up our approach.”

That service includes suggesting good books for the holidays.

“Books always make great gifts, especially for that hard-to-buy person. If you know what a person is interested in, we will find a book for them.”

Northern Michigan seems to have more independent bookstores per capita than anywhere else in the country. Norcross attributes that to the people who live and visit here.

“The reading culture of Northern Michigan is essential to all of us independents up here. We have very discerning readers which makes it fun for us, because we get to go beyond just the commercial stuff in our offerings.”


Another key to the success of McLean & Eakin is the quality of authors they bring to Petoskey.

“Bringing authors to town was a real important element to my mom when she started the store,” said Norcross. “We are successful in bringing top-notch authors by creating strong ties with New York publishing houses. We are known for giving them a lot of prepublication reviews and blurbs. It’s those kind of things that keep us in the loop with publishers. We have flown to New York with other Michigan booksellers to pitch our region for book tours.”

Recently, Norcross and his team helped to facilitate Booktopia, which brought nine bestselling authors in four days to Petoskey.

“Booktopia was phenomenal. There is this group called Books on the Nightstand who puts it together in three different communities around the country each year. They called us last fall and said they wanted to come to Petoskey. It usually takes a week to sell out, but the Petoskey event sold out in 56 minutes.”


With all the changes in technology and e-books some independent bookstores are facing extinction. At McLean & Eakin they have found ways to embrace the trends and serve the customers.

“Since customer service has been our motto and top priority, we have embraced the new technologies,” said Norcross. “We were very happy last year about this time that we were able to offer e-books to our customers. We have had a lot of support and in fact we are in the top five in e-book sales of all the independent booksellers in the country. It is neat to see a store like ours in a geographically isolated area outselling major independents in metropolitan areas.”

In the next few days McLean & Eakin will launch a digital audiobooks program. Customers will be able to download audiobooks from their website.

“Our website and the fact we update it daily is a big part of our success. Our staff all have their picks and little reviews on books on the website and people constantly tell us this helpful,” said Norcross. “We offer 99 cent shipping anywhere in the country so our summer residents stay loyal to us year round. Plus, locals ship books as gifts. Every Monday over 5,000 subscribers get the newsletter that my wife Jess puts together, so people who don’t live here year round still feel connected to our store.”

Norcross is also proud of the store’s commitment to the young readers in the community.

“Certainly my wife and others have worked hard to create a great children’s section,” said Norcross. “We also have annual book fairs at area schools and have raised $125,000 for those schools over the years.”

Here are Matt and Jessilynn Norcross picks for books to give as gifts this holiday season:

For Adults: Detroit, An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

No one tells the story of Detroit quite like Charlie LeDuff. A mixture of heartache and humor.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

Sisters Marnie and Nell have a little secret they would like to keep buried; two actually. They’re hiding the fact their parents just died and they’ll need to work together to stay out of the orphanage.

For Kids: Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein

When a little dino hatches from his egg, one of the first things he sees is a kiss, but he can’t seem to figure out how to give one without BONKING, CHOMPING, or STOMPING. Fun for ages 4 and up.

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

After Flora rescues a squirrel from a terrifying vacuum accident, she takes him home and names him Ulysses. Then she discovers that he can write poetry. Ages 8 and up.

To learn more about McLean & Eakin Booksellers, store hours and location along with additional book suggestions for this holiday gift giving season, go to mcleanandeakin.com

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