It’s rare that you stumble into a shop as unique and special as Source Booksellers; even more so to meet a shop owner as well rounded and experienced as Janet Webster Jones.
Located in Midtown (4240 Cass Ave.), this store has more to offer than a niche selection of books: Source strives to feed the mind, body and spirit with an experienced staff, diverse commodities, and a tight-knit community presence.
We had a chance to sit down with born-and-raised Detroiter and shop proprietor Janet Jones to get the inside scoop on what sets her store apart: “I just had courage, intuition, opportunity, and my own love for books,” says Jones.
Keep reading for more information on Source Booksellers, including monthly book readings, free community events, hours of operation and location.
As the daughter of a librarian and a former educator at Detroit Public Schools, you can say Jones has always had her nose in a book!
She sells a unique selection of non-fiction books, including genres like History and culture, health and well-being, metaphysics and spirituality, and a collection of books by and about women. All of her books are handpicked and selected by her and a dedicated team of bookworms.
Determined to make a difference in her community, she also provides free public activities and events that seek to revitalize and rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit.
These include conversations about books or community subjects, Tai Chi, Yoga, Qi Gong, and discussions of seasonal and celestial impact on everyday life. Source Booksellers also holds author talks with local and national authors.
We asked Jones why these book talks are important to her store and her customers.
“We try to pay attention to our local people,” Janet explained. “Once a year, every year around Thanksgiving, we invite six local authors to come to the store. We give them a music stand and they can bring their books to sell. The authors can talk to anyone in the store. That’s what we’ve been doing since we’ve moved to this location.”
When we asked Jones how she started selling books, she described her early origins as a vender at various festivals.
“I would always go to festivals. It would be a day where people were having an event and at those events they would have vendors. The vendors were people who would bring their wares in relationship to whatever the event was about. I brought my books to the people.”
Jones has been a bookseller since 1989. Her first brick and mortar location was inside the Spiral Collective. In 2013, Jones moved into her current Midtown location offering a wider variety of non-fiction books.
When I asked about her specialized inventory, Janet spoke with a passion of her hand-selected wares.
“I have previously-owned books and clearance books. We have 3-4 different price points: we have new releases, top runs, and top price. All of that makes the store happen as a business and it’s not just a loose collection. We carefully look at every single book.”
“But I had to grow to all that,” Jones continues, “it didn’t happen quickly or overnight. We are at that place now that we can utilize even more aspects of the book industry and it’s a huge global industry.”
When I asked her why she chose to exclusively sell non-fiction books, she smiled and chuckled, “Because I like it! That’s what I read. Now I’m reading that non-fiction is actually outselling fiction in adults and young adults. That’s why we are a curated inventory. We listen hard to customers and what they’re interested in and watch the industry, carefully on what’s being produced.”
Stop On By
The dedication of Janet Jones and the employees at Source Booksellers is why the independent businesses in Detroit thrive: their dedication to customer service and satisfaction is inspired!
You can visit Source Booksellers Monday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon – 5:00 p.m.