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Bookish Places To Check Out In Cleveland

I had the delight of attending a conference in Cleveland this past week and while there, I got to meet all sorts of people. Some were poets or memoirists or novelists. Some wrote flash fiction, some owned publishing companies and bookstores. It shocked me because while I grew up only 30 minutes from the Cleveland area, I had never known that there was such a literary community. (Sadly, my hometown lacks one!) And so, I thought that I should share a few of the places that intrigued me so that if you're ever in the Cleveland area, maybe you could stop by. (And some of the bookstores deliver, which is great if you prefer to buy indie!)

Write and Vibe Publishing is a Black-owned and woman-owned independent book publisher. They are a member of the IBPA and their books have been featured in Times Square. They publish memoirs and most genre fiction. However, this company sticks with books that center love, sisterhood, childhood and livelihood. While the founder of this company is based in Ohio, they offer services worldwide via virtual meetings.

I was also able to talk to an author who had published with Write and Vibe. She had nothing but praises for the small publisher. Not only had she been able to attend meetings and events with well-known industry leaders, she felt that the marketing and support she received was invaluable.

Write and Vibe offers free publishing consultations so that you can decide if they are the right company for you.

This super cute bookstore is apparently a staple in its community. They sell books (obviously!) but they also sell a lot of fun goods from socks to totes, to sarcastic stickers and bookmarks that look like little scarves. The things in their store are pretty ecletic, but I suppose that fits the overall vibe that they strive to acheive.

One cool thing is that this store offers trade-ins. So, if you have gently used books, you can make an appointment to bring them in. And you'll get a store credit that equals the value of your books. I've never heard of that happening in a bookstore before so that was really intriguing to me.

Loganberry books stuck out to me for two reasons. One could just be that it was one of the bookstores that kept getting mentioned throughout the conference. Another reason is that they had a lot of books. Like way more books than you would typically bring to an event of this size. But I guess they were just confident in their ability to sell. And boy, did they. A lot of people kept asking for books y panelists and presenters but Loganberry quickly sold out.

They sell new, used and rare books and even have their own podcast. They sell books on just about everything you can imagine and are a pretty big store, one that looks like it would be fun exploring.

One thing to mention is that this store has cats so if you are allergic, it may be best for you not to venture in.

Okay, let me preface this one with saying that I talked to the gentleman who was representing this space for quite some time. Thirdspace is a Black-owned, woman-owned business that operates as a bookstore, event space, coworking space and cafe! That's quite a lot, right? I thought so, too. They are still fairly new, only a year old at the time I am writing this, but they seem to have great plans!

They allow book bulk orders and make it easy to request tax exemption if you're purchasing books on behalf of a nonprofit or school. I am really excited to see what else is in store for this space as I think it is one of the most unique on this list.

Those who are based in Ohio may be familiar with the concept of the Power of the Pen writing contest. Well, Story Wars is like a grown up version of that. It is an organization that basically calls writers together, gives a prompt and sets a timer. Sometimes the prompts have a theme for the night, sometimes they choose prompts written by attendants. It's completely free and each night there are three rounds. By gamifying the writing a bit, their goal is to inspire writers to write, not revise, and have fun sharing it all together. It's hosted monthly and whether you want to write or just listen in, you're welcome to join.

Furthermore, every 2nd and 4th Saturday, they have a "slow reading" session. It's a time where people who love books can sat their phones down and read silently in the same space, although they may all be reading something different.

This place tugs on my heart strings a bit. ID 13 is a prison literacy project. If I am remembering correctly, it began as a project started by three individuals who saw a need and decided to meet it. The goal of the project isn't to teach necessarily but to uplift and make known the voices of those who feel silenced by their current circumstances. They then showcase the work of those incarcerated who desire it, via chapbooks that they publish.

The project collects donations but all chapbooks are available for free on their site, including some audio recordings from incarcerated persons reading their own work. It's a truly humbling experience to hear it, as well as see some of the photojournalism projects that are, again, free on their site.

Currently, you cannot give via their website, but I did speak with the organizer about adding their Cashtag so that it is easier for them to supply the materials they need for the incarcerated as well as the volunteers. Hopefully, it will make it easy to donate to such a wonderful organization.

Sometimes, you're just in the mood for a slightly unhinged book. And this virtual bookstore and press (ran entirely by two people) sells small books that are just what you need to scratch that itch. Don't believe me? One of their books is entitled, This Was The Decade I Kept Getting Stabbed. What a great title, right? Anyway, this small press publishes two volumes a year, each between 5,000 to 10,000 words. And if you are a writer, they have a competition every year that pays pretty well considering that the submissions are short stories.

This store stuck out to me mainly because it was so unique. The books had amazingly funny titles and were visually interesting. But as an accessibility side note, their books are pretty small (about the size of a note card) so for those with visual impairments, you would not be able to enjoy the offerings of this press. I do hope they consider changing that soon or having a virtual download available, but who knows what the future will hold.

There were quite a few more vendors and people there, but I wanted to share some of the ones I'd been able to chat with for quite a while, whose messages or purposes stuck out to me. Let me know if any of these things sound interesting to you!

Happy writing!

Do you have a literary community near you? If so, where do you enjoy patronizing the most?

If you like this post, you can always share it and/or buy me a cup of tea on Ko-Fi.

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