Let The Countdown Begin...


Many people have been asking us exactly when we're planning to open, and we have always replied, somewhat cagily: sometime in August. 

The time has come, though, to put on our big person pants and declare our hand, and so we're very pleased to announce that Skylark will be opening our doors for the first time on Saturday, August 25.

Put another way: we have less than two weeks. No biggie.

Of course, we still have an absolute ton to do before we can peel those Harry Potter pages off the windows and welcome you all inside. Our shelves have now been installed, and they look stunning. We spent several happy hours (fueled by Shakespeare's Pizza and Sparky's Ice Cream) over the weekend unboxing thousands of fiction titles. It has been a wonderful experience to watch the shelves slowly fill up with these beautiful books. We're actually starting to look like a bookshop! Next it's - well, it's basically everything else. We have a million and one little things to do (and a few big ones) but it's exciting to have a date to aim toward now.

As we get closer to the time, we'll be giving more details of what to expect on August 25. There won't be a big party - not right away, anyway. We're just ready to sell some books to all you lovely people! 

Watch this space for more details...

Do Not Stack on Top.


Earlier this week, two guys showed up at the shop with eight pallets of books. Each pallet contains forty-two boxes. That's three hundred and thirty-six boxes, each one absolutely crammed with books. There are a lot of people going in and out of the shop these days, so we put all the pallets at the back of the store, in what will soon be the children's section, just to get them out of the way. This afternoon we began moving the boxes to approximately where they should be in the shop so that when we start unpacking and shelving everything will be more or less where it needs to be. It is hard work, even in our lovely, air-conditioned space. So far we are two pallets down - only a quarter of the way through, but enough to have learned the following hard-earned truths:

  • There is a difference between waving vaguely at a bit of the shop and saying "Philosophy is going over there," and knowing precisely where philosophy is actually going to go. There's probably a really funny philosophical joke about this proposition, but we can't make it because we haven't read all the books yet.
  • Gym membership is overrated. Open a bookshop instead. Full body (and brain) workout.
  • Books are heavy.
  • No, really, I mean they are really, seriously heavy.
  • All of the various joys and excitements of the past few weeks were eclipsed by the moment when we cut through the tape on the first box and saw books. Lots and lots of 'em. Because that, after all, is why we're here.

Progress continues apace. By the middle of next week the computers should be up and running and the maple shelves ready to be installed. We're still a couple of weeks away from opening our doors, but getting closer every day.




Amidst the retired Harry Potter pages currently covering our windows is a “Shop Local Buy Local” poster for The District. As an independent bookstore, this fits right into our philosophy.

We are enjoying being on the other side of the Shop Local Buy Local picture. Yesterday we sat in our back office, crowded with furniture and boxes to be distributed around the bookshop in the coming days. There were piles of paperwork, overtasked computers, conference calls, and some slap-happy banter. Meanwhile, local businesses were putting their mark on Skylark Bookshop.

Ryan from Homecraft Painting was meticulously touching up paint. Adam from Withrow Electric was pulling wires and installing lighting (from Bright City Lights). Jeff and Jesse from Midwest Remodeling and Restoration were busy building stairs to the front stage. Back at their shop, Andy Werth and his crew (including the fabulous & detail oriented Pete) from Stickman Woodworks were busy with the ridiculous number of maple shelves and our other stand-alone fixtures. It is difficult to describe how wonderful it was to work in the shop with that hum around us. Even harder to explain how valuable the relationship with these folks has been.

We are investing in them, and they are most certainly investing in us. The care of their labor is evident as soon as you walk in the door. They are patient with us as they walk us through the endless decisions we need to make. We might be a tad bit tired these days, perhaps a little decision weary, but they somehow make everything easier and more exciting.

As we approach opening our doors to the public, we are looking forward to developing similar relationships with our customers. We are downright giddy about putting the right books in the right hands. We are also a bit teary as we think about showing you this space. It is beautiful, and we know just how hard these guys are working.

Small is Beautiful

Here’s the thing when it comes to bookshops:

Yes, it’s nice to have a beautiful logo. Yes, it’s nice to have a shiny new website. And yes, of course it’s nice to have a lovely space. But let’s be clear: these things are not what makes a bookshop a good bookshop.

What makes a bookshop a good bookshop?

It’s the books.

We’re a small shop. We don't have the space or resources to stock every book out there, and we would be crazy to try.  Instead we’re going to make a virtue of our size: we’ll be presenting a highly curated inventory that we think people in our community will enjoy and be interested in.

When we think about our own trips to independent bookshops, the word that most springs to mind is: discovery. You’ll find all the usual bestselling titles at Skylark, of course – but we’re also hoping to introduce a lot of you to a lot of new, brilliant books that won’t necessarily appear on the front tables at Barnes and Noble, or get coughed up by some dubious online algorithm. In other words, we want to surprise and delight you with something a little different.

With so many titles being published every week, there are many, many wonderful books that don’t get the attention or publicity that they deserve. It’s our job to find those under-the-radar treasures for you. We spend a lot of time reading pre-publication copies of books that are still months away from arriving on the shelves. We pore over publishers’ catalogues. We speak to sales reps who tell us about their forthcoming titles. We talk to other booksellers. (Also, there’s this great thing called the Internet, which you should totally check out.)

At the front of the store we’ll have two huge tables of paperbacks – one table of fiction, one of non-fiction. We’ve just finished selecting which titles we’ll be featuring when we open our doors for the first time. It was a difficult process, but very fun – and we can’t wait to share these books with you.

As Carrie said the other day: we’ll just be stocking just one genre of books: good ones.


We Are Hiring!

As we edge closer toward August, we're looking to recruit some brilliant, funny, hard-working, and kind people to help us run our shop. If you've always dreamed of working in a bookshop, or if you just love books and people, please go here, read all the stuff (including very important information about drinking coffee and loving dogs), and - if all that nonsense doesn't put you off - send us a job application. We'd love to hear from you.

Skylark Bookshop construction underway!

galley box.jpeg

Right now, with about a month to go before we open, we’ll admit that the shop looks like a bit of a war zone. There are half-built shelves all over the place. There are wires peeking playfully out from behind screens. (Where do they go? Nobody knows.) There are light fittings we can’t wait to replace. And there’s half a Harry Potter novel plastered to the front window to protect our modesty from curious eyes.

What there isn’t much of, so far, is actual books. We’re nearly ready, though.

In the back room stands this beauty, which will hold the shop’s galleys, or ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies).  These are uncorrected proofs that publishers circulate to booksellers and other industry people several months before scheduled publication, in the hopes that early readers will rave about the book and start creating a buzz about it. These galleys are one of the best things about being a bookseller. When we went to the American Booksellers Association Winter Institute in Memphis this January, there was a whole room full of the things, and we each returned with – well, it doesn’t matter exactly how many we had in the trunk of my car, really, but it was a lot. It’s fun to read the hot new books before they come out – that’s how we’re able to give our customers recommendations about the vary latest releases as soon as they’re published.

There are already many treasures nestled snugly inside this beautiful box. We can’t wait to tell you about them.