Indie Bookstores: The Raven Bookstore Lawrence, Kansas
In May 2022, Publishers Weekly declared The Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas as the best bookstore in America. Named for Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven,” the bookstore opened in 1987 carrying mystery books. By 2017 after Danny Caine bought it, it had grown into a multi-genre bookstore and moved to a larger space at 809 Massachusetts Street. Caine is not the sole owner. He shares ownership with his staff.
Publisher’s Weekly is the biggest of the book industry’s trade publications. It includes authors, publishing professionals, and booksellers. It mentioned that The Raven had supported the book industry during the pandemic and had a large hand in sustaining it.
The Raven managed this by shipping books across the country to readers who could not make it in because of COVID. They challenged Amazon and had their shipping business go from 10% to 30%.
Of course, they have several bookstore cats, including a black cat named Ngaio for New Zealand mystery writer Ngaio March. It also means FREE.