About Literati® & Our History in Ann Arbor

Literati Bookstore® is an independent bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor. We are downtown, a few blocks from the University of Michigan's campus. We opened on March 31, 2013 in the hopes of enhancing the vibrant downtown culture and arts scene. We aim to be a place where book lovers can go, talk, and interact with each other. We also host author readings, book clubs, poetry nights, and anything else we can think of. But most of all: We want to be a welcoming bookstore. A place to discover something new. A place to discover a new idea, place, or world.

Our staff hails from the greater Ann Arbor, Michigan and southeast Michigan area, and many have extensive bookselling experience. Out of 600+ applicants, we carefully select the most passionate and experienced booksellers--people who have worked for Borders, Shaman Drum, independent bookstores, publishers, or who are engaged and involved within the literary community. We collaborate with area businesses and organizations, including the University of Michigan, the Zell Visiting Writers Series, the Midwest Literary Walk in Chelsea, 826michigan, Spencer Restaurant, Argus Farm Stop, the Kerrytown BookFest, Vault of Midnight, and many more. We are proud members of the Main Street Area Association.

We believe that, contrary to popular belief, we are not hurtling towards a digital, machine-operated future where an Amazon algorithm decides your reading list. We believe in the whimsy an independent bookstore provides. We believe an independent bookstore is one of the few places people can actually surprise themselves and discover something completely unexpected. We believe that bookstores like ours are crucial to support and foster new, important, and marginalized voices.

We are thrilled to be your downtown independent general bookstore.


Hello! We are Mike Gustafson and Hilary Gustafson, proud booksellers and owners of Literati Bookstore®. As people who grew up and live in Michigan, we have fond memories of childhoods filled with books. Curling up late at night. Long, sunny afternoons, beachside along one of the Great Lakes, reading until the sun went down.

When we heard about Borders closing shop nationally back in 2011, our immediate reaction was, “What about downtown Ann Arbor?” We grew up here. We have family here. We couldn’t stomach one of the most literate, creative cities in the nation (the world?) without a downtown general bookstore to share ideas, discuss books, and meet authors. While Ann Arbor does have some great niche and used bookstores downtown, we feel that not having a general bookstore in the walkable downtown area is a great disservice to the community.

So, we decided to move from Brooklyn to Ann Arbor to begin Literati Bookstore. To show that independent bookstores thrive in communities that value the written word. To show that bookstores could thrive in vibrant downtowns like Ann Arbor. To support local authors, artists, readers, writers, kids, adults, and anyone else who loves books as much as we do.

After opening in 2013, we're eight (!) years in, we're excited to continue to grow with Ann Arbor, and build a quirky, fun, and hip general bookstore, with book clubs, subscription clubs, author events, panels, discussions, storytimes... You name it, we want to do it. And we're growing. Our events program attracts some of the most renown authors in the world. We were named the 2019 Publishers Weekly Bookstore of the Year. NBC Nightly News and NPR's All Things Considered have featured our story. Our inventory is expanding. Our book clubs are vibrant. Our book subscription clubs are growing. 

Our goal is to be here for 30 years and beyond. So far, we've had incredible support in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Michigan, the publishing and book world, and the country. If you'd like to know more, here are a few articles about Literati. ®

Thank you for your reading, for continuing to read on, and we hope to see you soon.