“Perhaps that is the best way to say it: printed books are magical, and real bookshops keep that magic alive.” - Jen Campbell,
With a name like "Moon Palace Books" you might expect something a little mystical and magical. In which case you might be surprised by this Longfellow Neighborhood treasure (3260 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406). The exterior of this small shop is bright and whimsical, wedged between Minneapolis gems Peace Coffee and Trylon Microcinema.
The interior immediately wraps you in a warm lavender hug. Bright lights and a soft industrial feeling make for an unfamiliar setting for a bookstore, but I have to admit I was smitten. For such a small space they have maximized their book-selling capacity.
Moon Palace is a testament to the idea of small neighborhood bookstores. Owners Angela and Jamie Schwesnedl opened shop when independent bookstores were on the decline and the ominous shadow of Amazon was starting to take hold of the market. Not only did Moon Palace thrive, it was soon bursting through the seems of its original home and needed to relocate to a larger space. Last year more than 60 volunteers and devoted fans helped them move over 10,00 books (by hand!) to their new location.
Their loyal customer base is not misguided. Though this was my first visit to Moon Palace I will definitely be going back. Every type and genre of book seemed to be represented. I was impressed, and incredibly tempted, by their large collection of cookbooks. Most small bookstores tend to either be aimed just at kids or have a tiny corner in the back of the store for the under 18 crowd, not Moon Palace! Their kid and Young Adult sections are prolific and surprising. There were more than just #1 New York Times Best Sellers to be found which I appreciate since the YA market is so saturated right now.
As an unapologetic graphic novel nerd I always make sure to take note of a Bookstores selection of comics. Moon Palace did not disappoint. They had a large and diverse selection of comics and graphic novels. There were classic stand-by's as well as some excitingly bizarre picks like a ginormous graphic novel adaptation of Beowulf (I WILL be going back for that).
For local folks, Moon Palace hosts numerous book clubs all worth checking out in their own right. For example the Trylon microcinema Book Club where participants watch the film adaptations of the books they've been reading and then discuss.