To celebrate the International Day of Disabled Persons, we’re sharing a special edition of our Meet a Bookseller series. Today, we’re excited to introduce Annie Carl, owner of The Neverending Bookshop in Edmonds, Washington.
How did you get into bookselling?
That is a long, complex story. Basically, I was born. Sounds a bit goofy, I know. But I born with a rare spinal birth defect. Because of that defect, I had a lot of surgery as a result, and was not allowed to have a TV in my room. Books were my companions, which is how my love of reading really kicked off. When I was 14, a used bookstore opened in my small hometown (Kingston, WA), and I went in once a week for a year before they hired me. I worked a few hours a week at first in return for books. It was my first experience bookselling, and I never wanted to do anything else.
What do you love most about being a bookseller?
Well, the advance reading copies/advance listening copies are pretty awesome. But really, it’s about sharing my favorite stories with people. It’s about finding that one (or two or three, etc.) book that the reader is looking for at that moment in time. I am a big believer in the Right Book, Right Time, Right Person philosophy. I have had books in my life that I’ve disliked, then gone back to later and loved. It all depends on what the reader is seeking in that moment. Finding the Right Book is like a finding a treasure map and completing a jigsaw puzzle all at once. It’s a wonderfully satisfying feeling watching the reader leave with their perfect-for-that-moment book.
What do you love most about your bookstore?
Is saying “the books” too easy? I love that I have created a bookstore that reflects my favorite things. The Neverending Bookshop is a genre bookstore. I live in a fantastic community that supports a store like mine, which really is incredible. I also love that I have created a bookstore that would fall into the “bookselling as activism” category. Most of the non-fiction I bring in goes in the Gender Studies section, which is a very important section to me. I also adore that I can support local authors with events and book sales.
I mean, The Neverending Bookshop is bookstore I built from the ground up. It really reflects all of the things I care about in bookstore and book form. I’m raising my kid there. I’m reading there. I’m finding out more about who I am as a person there. I love that I can have a Disability in Fiction section that promotes discussion about positive representation in the disabled community. There’s a lot to love in my store.
What are you listening to right now?
Personally, Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr by Garth Nix. The shop’s Audiobook Craft Group is (virtually) listening to The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow.
What audiobooks would you recommend or are among your favorites?
Oh gosh, so many! The Night Circus; Ready Player One; Get a Life, Chloe Brown; The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet; His Dark Materials; Harry Potter. I love audiobooks so much, it’s hard to choose.
Where / when do you listen to audiobooks?
In the car, at home when I’m knitting, at work when no one is in the store, during Audiobook Craft Night (every other Saturday), road trips. I love them because my son gets a story without screen time, and I get to listen to someone read to me—one of my favorite things!
What is your favorite thing about audiobooks through Libro.fm?
That they support indie bookstores and small business communities. Several large, online companies are working hard to smash small businesses as best they can. Libro.fm is another ally in the fight to preserve locally owned businesses run by local people. It’s a wonderful audiobook alternative I can offer my customers, which I like. And the people behind Libro.fm make it easy for luddites like myself to understand.
What do you do when you’re not selling books?
Let’s see, I teach writing classes, knit, swim, take pole-dancing classes, hang with my family, advocate against the toxic tropes surrounding disabled representation in media and fiction. You know, the usual stuff.