'The Furry Faces of Bookselling'

Indie booksellers around the country "foster a sense of warmth and community in their stores while also setting themselves apart. Bookstore pets--like the collection of chickens, ferrets, chinchillas, and more at Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis or the litters of kittens looking for 'furrever' homes at Horton's Books & Gifts in Carrollton, Ga.--inspire an extra smile from customers browsing the stacks for their next great read," Bookselling This Week reported in a feature on bookshop pets, the "furry faces of bookselling."

Otis Squee Petunia

"I just love cats. And they are just fabulous marketing tools," said Jessica Osborne, owner of E. Shaver, Bookseller in Savannah, Ga., citing one-year-olds Mr. Eliot and Bartleby. "We really lucked out because they are the nicest cats ever; they're super friendly. You can pick them up and carry them around. They give the store a warmth.... They've really been a joy."

Customers at Clues Unlimited in Tucson, Ariz., "are greeted by Bosco the greyhound, a sweetheart of a dog who remembers every customer who has ever given him a treat," BTW wrote. 

"Even if I weren't a pet fanatic, I would probably [have a bookstore pet] because it brings in so many people; it makes me stand out from other stores in Tucson," said owner Christine Burke. "I think that the more you have relationships with people, the better things go. They'd rather go out of their way to come here than click on Amazon."

Otis the cat of Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, Ohio, has his own Twitter account, where he goes by the name Otis Squee Petunia. "We have negotiated a firm contract that includes Sundays and holidays off, construction or special events days off, as well as the occasional open-door day at Loganberry or days where Otis plays chase at home and wins, thereby assuring himself a hooky day," said owner Harriett Logan. "But he is here most days and has an avid fan club. His chief jobs include greetings, promotion, and cheer."

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