Tideland Books & Bottle Shop – Interview With J. David Osborne

tidelandWith years of combined business, book, and beer experience, the fine folks at Civil Coping Mechanisms, Broken River Books, and Lazy Fascist Press are teaming up to make Tideland Books & Bottle Shop an indie book mecca on the Oregon coast. When you read the description on their Kickstarter page, you’ll be asking yourself why this place doesn’t exist already:

Tideland will be a destination where readers can connect directly with independent publishers and writers for personalized recommendations, almost exclusively from indie publishers whose books and ethics we endorse. We’ll also offer beer/book pairings, readings with some of today’s biggest independent authors, and beer tastings. Tideland is more than a bookstore. It’s a space for lovers of books and beer to connect, engage, and inspire one another.

I strongly encourage all writers, artists, publishers, craft beer enthusiasts, and other generally awesome people to help them out and make Tideland a reality. Watch the video on the Kickstarter campaign page and make a donation today.

Blue Skirt Productions recently had the opportunity to ask J. David Osborne of Broken River Books some questions about this endeavor and the campaign to get it funded:

BSP: When people learn about your Kickstarter, they have a decision to make: to donate or not to donate. Most people only offer up cash if they feel they are getting something worthwhile in return. So what do people get for donating to Tideland Books? Why would their fifty dollars be better spend on this project than, say, taking their significant other out to dinner?

JDO: I’d never want someone to not take their significant other out to dinner. I’ve got my priorities straight: love the ones you love, first and foremost. However, I’d prefer not to think of this as an either/or situation. You take your love out to a fancy meal, you take a long walk, whatever happens, happens. But after the date, you’d probably want to curl up in bed with a book. That’s where Tideland comes in. The bookstore/bottle shop is functioning as a sort of indie-lit headquarters. It’s our mission, with Tideland, to not just push these wonderful, under-the-radar books on unsuspecting customers, but to also foster a community that revolves around this burgeoning culture. We want more eyes on books from our favorite presses. We want people to fall in love with books, to remember what it’s like to find something in a bookstore and realize, “oh my god, this is what I’ve been looking for, and I never even knew it.” When you donate to Tideland, you’re not only getting a cool reward for doing so (limited-edition books, pint glasses, personalized eulogies, etc), you’re actively contributing to the advancement of small books in an ever-expanding marketplace. Also, if you run a press, there’s the Tideland Ambassador reward, which will get your books front and center in the shop. They’ll be paired with a beer, put on display, and pushed with gusto upon the fine patrons of our establishment.

BSP: The staff you have behind this project are all experienced in both business and books, clearly possessing the smarts and creative skills to make this reality when you achieve your funding goal. But just exactly how awesome is Tideland Books going to be? When I’m visiting Astoria and I stop in, what experience will I have? What will I tell my friends?

JDO: First of all, you’re going to Astoria, so that’s already a win. It’s a beautiful town set on a hill. When I visit I like to just wander along the train tracks and walk out onto the pier and look at the seals barking at the docks. The water, the calm grey sky…Astoria is some kind of heaven for people who are into laid-back, friendly spots with small-town vibes. Now, here’s where the hypothetical situation kind of splits off, because we’re looking at two different spots for Tideland. One of them is a more centralized storefront, the other is in a former Bumblebee Tuna cannery out on a pier. Regardless, you’ll come into the bookstore and you will be greeted by one of our staff, either myself, Cameron or Kirsten Pierce, or Michael J Seidlinger. We can chat if you want, or we can leave you to browse. We’ll have an extensive collection of underground and indie literature, stuff that you can normally find only on the internet. There’ll be chairs where you can read the book and just chill. But we’ll be there if you need us. Those books are our lives. We know them. But mostly we want you to leave relaxed, maybe with a case of beer, and hopefully with some new books that’ll show you just what kind revelations the medium can bring. Bring friends!

BSP: What inspired you and the rest of your team to come up with this project?

JDO: I think that answer has two parts. The idea started percolating because we knew that we had to find a new, better way to reach people, with respect to our own presses. We’ve been jerked around by some of the big guys (You-Know-Who) and it was getting to the point that, if we didn’t follow their mafioso-style “terms” (hey…maybe you need to sign up for our program…if not…maybe your book will be out of print…these things happen…) we were left with books that we cared about, books that we felt obligated to get out there, dead in the water. So we wracked our brains. Cameron and Kirsten took my wife and I out to Astoria for a weekend. We hung out in a camper and ate oyster shooters by the Columbia and he talked about this idea for a bookstore, and it just seemed perfect. We believe Astoria to be the next big spot for the arts in the Pacific Northwest. With publishing in this weird state of flux, we want to make a statement with Tideland: that we’re here, we’re dedicated, and we want to return to personalized bookselling. And beer-selling. Cameron really, really loves his beer. The guy’s a beer encyclopedia.

BSP: What do you think will be the key to Tideland Books’ success?

JDO: In the long term, I’ll consider Tideland a success if we are able to get people into the presses we love. There’s so, so much out there that seems to sit just below the radar. We aim to put books in hands. It’s hard to quantify exactly how many people or how many books that adds up to. But we’re playing a long game, here. We want to be a fixture. We want to continuously affect positive change both in the Astoria community and in the indie-lit world at large.

BSP: Do you have anything you would like to say to someone who is considering donating to this campaign?

JDO: Thank you! It really is incredible how many folks want to see stuff like this happen. We at Tideland are honored by your consideration. We hope you like books. And beer.

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