Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

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.”

AUTHORS & EVENTS

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.”

EMBRACING TRENDS

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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