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January 09, 2004 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-09

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 9, 2004


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

I've never done
this before. But life is
about taking risks
is it not?"
- Entertainer Madonna, on her decision to
endorse Democratic candidate Wesley
Clark for president, in a letter released
by the Clark campaign yesterday.



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WhyI am a capitalist: Shaman Drum Bookshop
like locally owned arrows and taped off hallways help guide you Michigan Book and Supply would disagree
businesses - they through the twisted series of rooms, and because strongly with this point of view, it is nonetheless
are part of the reason these corridors are so narrow, they quickly jam the reason why some University professors
I love Ann Arbor. Local- up with students. Browsing is impossible and insist on only ordering their books through
ly owned shops and patience a scarce commodity, as crowded stu- Shaman Drum.
restaurants help to give dents move in a line like cattle, struggling to The result: In comparison with other
the city its own unique pick out books they need from the myriad small bookstores on campus, Shaman Drum pro-
flavor. But I do not like rooms and hallways. vides sub-par service, convenience and selec-
the Shaman Drum Book- Second, when I see the words "book- tion, and because its customer base has been
shop. In fact, let me go store" on the outside of a building, I imme- guaranteed, it has little to no reason to ever
so far as to say I hate the diately think of a place where one trades change. Locally owned businesses are great,
Shaman Drum bookshop. Shaman Drum is the money for books - a book store, right? For but what makes them great is an ability to use
most confusing-ass bookstore in the entire such a store to make money, they must their grassroots structure to provide unique,
world. I do not like shopping there. If I had a actually have books for people to buy. For often superior services - to use their local
choice, I would not shop there. I do not like the most "bookstores," this doesn't seem to be knowledge and connections to offer a superi-
Shaman Drum Bookstore. an issue. Shaman Drum? Invariably, after or product. Some will fail in this regard, but
Grumbles I have about the store include the dealing with the long line and the jammed others will survive, not simply because they
following: First, the physical layout of the store interior, one finds out the following: a nec- are locally owned, but because they are better
creates one of the most confusing, frustrating essary book is out of stock. Now, I under- stores. Shaman Drum has managed to quietly
and irritating experiences students will stand that it is often hard to predict student dodge this bullet year after year, its market
encounter at the University. Most stores mer- demand for a particular textbook, but, share secured by charity and its customers
chandise and organize in a consumer-friendly should you be in the textbook business, you unable to shop elsewhere.
format, creating an environment conducive to must have the textbooks in stock, in the Do Shaman Drum a favor: Instead of
browsing and buying. In typical "color outside quantity necessary for each course. At other remaining blindly loyal to a store because its
the lines" fashion, Shaman Drum has instead bookstores, if the book is out of stock, you owners are locals, hold it accountable to com-
organized its store a bit differently. There is an can go to another store and have a solid pete with everyone else - in the marketplace.
upstairs and a downstairs, each accessible from chance at picking it up. But because profes- As it stands, students are forced to shop at a
the street. To buy your textbooks at Shaman sors who order through Shaman Drum only store that is unable and/or unwilling to compete
Drum, you must go upstairs - only upstairs, order through Shaman Drum, if it's out of at the same level as other bookstores. Shouldn't
because as its staff will pleasantly remind you, stock there, you have to wait days or often professors order books through a vendor that
there are no textbooks downstairs. weeks before it comes in again. makes it easy and convenient for students to
Once you are on the upper floor, where all But Shaman Drum has survived, and will buy their books? Shaman Drum might actually
(or, as the case may be, some) of the textbooks continue to survive, because it does have one have to (gasp) compete for business, and stu-
live, you'll find that it isn't laid out like a normal trump card: It's a locally owned bookstore. dents might actually (gasp) get their books easi-
bookstore. Instead of large, open shelving areas What does that actually mean? Well, it means ly and on time.
in which students can maneuver, shop and that some, including a number of professors, What a concept.
browse for their books, the upper floor is a feel that it is ethically and economically superior
labyrinth of narrow corridors, with small shelv- to shop at a "locally owned" business. Though I Adams can be reached
ing rooms interspersed in between. Laminated suspect that the shift manager at Ulrich's or at dnadams@umich.edu.
FDA correct pill should be doms or involuntary intercourse), and the "Thank you comrade!" (Is this an attempt
FDA is making the right decision by to Red bait us?) For the past 24 years we
offered without a prescription approving its use without a prescription. have supported a progressive cultural and
5TPHANEKIssAM political agenda in our community, of
School of Public Health which we are understandably proud. How-
To THE DAILY: ever, I would characterize the politics of
Most of the individuals that gave their Shaman Drum valuable ourstore less in terms of left and right than
opinions on the "morning after" pill as local. Shaman Drum Bookshop is a
('Morning after' pill receives mixed reviews member of the community locally owned, independent store, and the
on campus, 01/08/04) seem to be unaware politics of chain stores and Internet-only
of the short-term side effects that make stores are different from ours. My staff and
planned regular use of Plan B emergency To THE DAILY: I have logged in hundreds of hours this
contraception an unlikely outcome of Food Jeff Woelker ('U' should do more to help past year in community-building projects
and Drug Administration approval for students shop for textbooks, 01/07/04) may because we have a stake in making Ann
over-the-counter sale. According to Plan have been too angry to notice, but Shaman Arbor a vibrant and attractive place.
B's website, www.go2planB.com, "Approx- Drum Bookshop has had a textbook website Woelker promises "to get to the back of
imately 23.1 percent of women taking Plan for four years now. It is our policy to stock the bread line immediately," and I suppose
B experience nausea and 5.6 percent 20 to 30 percent of our textbooks used (if he does have us there. We serve strong hot
vomit. Other side effects may include they are available), which students can pur- tea and slices of Zingerman's wonderful
lower abdominal pain (17.6 percent), chase in-store. We feel that combining a bread to students during rush. Our intent is
fatigue (16.9 percent), headache (16.8 per- streetfront location along with a website is to acknowledge (and in some small way
cent), dizziness (11.2 percent), breast ten- much more convenient for our customers perhaps assuage) the inconvenience of
derness (10.7 percent), and menstrual than a virtual site. If you drop the course, standing in line.
changes, including heavier bleeding (13.8 you can return the books and get a refund Lest I end on a churlish note, I want to
percent) and lighter bleeding (12.5 per- without interfacing with the postal system. say that the Shaman Drum Bookshop staff
cent)." Given the mostly uncomfortable Prior to rush, we close most of the text attempts to make our service to students
side effects of Plan B, the assumption that floor to make it easier (and safer) for our and faculty the best in the city. I would
women would turn to emergency contra- staff to stock the rooms, but when we can, welcome any suggestions regarding how
ception as a regular method to prevent we let customers browse the shelves. Of we might do this better. I'm also always avail-
pregnancy (an assumption made over and course, it would be much easier to browse able to students or student organizations inter-
over again by individuals quoted in the our website for book-title information if a ested in discussing turning the store into a
Daily's article) is clearly uninformed. Plan customer is intent on doing comparison nonprofit co-op.
B is the best option to prevent pregnancy shopping online. KARL POHRT
in emergency situations (e.g., broken con- I was startled by Woelker's sarcastic, Owner, Shaman Drum Bookshop



Support your local independent bookseller!
Here are a few reasons why:
The individual injustice referred to in a
recent letter by a student concerned about the
price of textbooks ('U' should do more to help stu-
dents shop for textbooks, 01/07/04) is a tiny piece
of the economic interdependency resulting from
the interaction between local independent
stores, the University, professors and students
and the local economy.
Independent bookstores often provide ser-
vices above and beyond putting books on
shelves for students to buy. Services include
researching the books desired by the professors
to obtain the best price and shipment in a timely

increased the service of online purchasing in
recent years, simplifying the pickup process for
many students who take advantage of this ser-
vice (again, at no additional cost to the student).
When a student decides to drop a class,
returns are quickly and easily accepted at full
value and with little hassle at the local inde-
pendent store.
The local independent store hires and pro-
vides work for students, undergrads and gradu-
ates from the surrounding universities and
colleges as well as graduates of Ann Arbor high
schools. This local employment can reverberate
in the local economy as well. Neighboring
stores, including Zingerman's, Amer's and
Espresso Royale Cafe provide bread and warm
drinks for the students waiting in line at Shaman
Drum Bookshop.
T io1++ -- - .- -At. ;; n tv.;rn

social science books, and throughout the year,
the trade floor of Shaman Drum has a depth of
offerings far exceeding any simplified "best-
seller" list. Professors and graduate students are
able to browse and consider some of the latest
publications in their fields, can look through
each individual book for purchase, for their
research and for possible future incorporation
into their syllabuses. Few corporate stores can
or will provide the service that the independent
bookseller gives, with experienced buyers
working closely with representatives from the
publishing houses and learning about new
books months prior to publication.
All in all I would encourage everyone to
think more fully of economic justice considera-
tions - in my case, I greatly appreciated learn-
ing from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public


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