This month, The Raven Book Store celebrates 35 years of business in Lawrence. Covering two locations over the years, The Raven has grown from a small mystery genre store to a local media staple.
Danny Caine is the current owner of The Raven. Caine has been at the bookstore since 2015, works as a part-time bookseller and bought the store in August 2017.
Caine said part of their mission is to promote positive social change within the local community.
“Lawrence is essential to us, and we are essential to Lawrence,” Caine said.
Caine said The Raven is special because the staff prioritize personal relationships with customers.
“Our number one goal is just to be the best bookstore we can be for Lawrence,” Caine said.
In 2019, Caine wrote a book titled “How to resist Amazon and why”, which discusses the negative aspects of the shipping giant and how its reduction strategies are losing money to authors, publishers and even Amazon itself.
Caine explained how Amazon’s low prices and unattainable shipping speeds put pressure on bookstores to sell and ship books at impossible-to-profit costs. He also explained how buying smaller books leads to better books, service experiences, and communities.
“When you buy a book from an independent bookstore, you’re investing in that bookstore’s community and its efforts to sustain it,” Caine said.
The company’s community involvement and core values have remained strong since 1987, when Pat Khede and Mary Lou Wright opened its doors.
“We had a vision of a store where we would know everyone’s names after they came to buy books,” Khede said. “We wanted customers to feel like they were coming into someone’s living room and feeling comfortable.”
After being denied a bank loan twice, Khede and Wright got online and worked with friends and family to open the mystery bookstore they were passionate about.
By connecting with people in their community and learning about their literary tastes, they established The Raven as an easygoing neighborhood bookstore with a personal quality.
Over the years, it is clear that the values of the bookstore have remained at the heart of its activity.
KU senior Kassidy Lidgett has been a Raven regular for two years. Like many fans of the bookstore, Lidgett said she thought there was something special about the Raven.
“The vibe is completely unlike anything I’ve seen in the area,” Lidgett said.
To honor this anniversary, the store organized a series of events throughout the month of September.
Last Thursday, the store celebrated the release of Caine’s second book, “How to resist Amazon and why? » which hit the shelves last Tuesday.
“We restarted in-person events earlier this year, and we’re really going to work to scale that up,” Caine said.
They currently have five events, in-person and virtual, scheduled for the month of October. More information on upcoming and upcoming events can be found at Raven’s website.