May 24

An Indie Bookstore During a Pandemic w/ Joanna Parzakonis by Colby Sharp

My favorite independent bookstore is Bookbug in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the owners Joanna and Derek over the years, as I worked closely with them during each Nerd Camp Michigan. The work that they do is inspiring. With the state of Michigan being pretty much shutdown the last couple of months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Bookbug.

Last week, I called Joanna to talk to her about how things were going. I recorded our conversation for The Yarn podcast. I know that I ask you to do a lot of things in this newsletter: read blogs posts, visit websites, watch videos, read books. Today, I am not going to simple ask you to listen to my conversation with Joanna. I’m going to beg you. You do not want to miss you on hearing Joanna talk about her journey to becoming a bookseller, her passion for her community, and how COVID-19 has turned her world upside down. 

I think this episode will give you hope. I think it will remind us all how important it is that we are good stewards of our money, and I think it will inspire you to chase your dreams. Thank you for listening. It means the world to me. 

If you’d rather listen to the episode on your phone, you can find the show here: SpotifyApple Podcast, or Google Podcast

A couple of years ago, I asked Joanna to share why it is important that people purchase their books from indepedent bookstores. You can find her response below.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post, and check out the podcast. I hope you and your family are staying safe during this pandemic. Please let me know if I can do anything to help!

Colby Sharp is a fifth grade teacher in Michigan. He co-wrote Game Changer: Book Access For All! with his friend Donalyn Miller. He co-hosts The Yarn podcast with Travis Jonker, and he talks about books weekly on his YouTube channel.