If you land on TBTP on a regular basis, you know how I feel about bookmobiles, traveling libraries, and itinerant bookstores. So, you won’t be surprised by these two stories about mobile booksellers from opposite sides of the globe.
I was excited to discover Queenstown, New Zealand’s newest bookstore, which happens to be a van-based, mobile purveyor of secondhand books. Bright Ink is a crowdfunded project created last year by two bookloving friends with a shared vision of owning a bookstore and recycling used books. Natasya Zambri and her business partner Annie Buscemi turned to crowdfunding, using PledgeMe, a Wellington-based platform which offers project and equity crowdfunding to bring their dream to life. By December 2020, they had raised enough money to buy a van and outfitted it with shelving. The partners cleverly collected donated books to develop their inventory.
Besides functioning as a secondhand mobile bookstore, the duo plan on sharing the space with local artists and to promote their work as well as hold poetry-reading sessions, guest speaker engagements and workshops.
The second mobile bookselling project comes from New York City resident Latanya Devaughn who is on a mission to bring a bookstore on wheels to her Bronx Borough with Bronx Bound Books. Now, after two years of soliciting donations for books and funds, Devaughn recently announced the acquisition of the bus that will bring her passion project closer to reality.
Devaughn aims to provide access to affordable books in an effort to increase literacy rates is sorely needed in the Bronx, where 70 percent of third grade students in the South Bronx cannot read at grade level, just over half of high school graduates are adequately prepared for college, and 41% of all Bronx residents lack basic prose literacy skills.
Devaughn is still raising funds so that she can hire a local artist to create a mural that would grace the exterior of the bus. “I love my community and strive to always hire within my community. We have so many talented and creative people living in The Bronx. It brings me great joy to showcase this.”
To donate or to learn more, visit the Bronx Bound Books website.