On the corner of downtown Tulsa, a tiny world of books and coffee perches behind a wall of windows, capturing sunlight upon each shelf. The East Archer Street corner now holds several new small businesses and shops aimed toward bettering the community of Tulsa, including Magic City Books.
Magic City Books is a for-profit bookstore, opened in the late fall of 2017 by Tulsa Literary Coalition, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. The store strives to foster the love of reading and build a community of book lovers in order to encourage the literary energy in Tulsa.
“The mission of the Tulsa Literary Coalition is to celebrate books and reading as a catalyst for reflection, exploration and connection,” the mission statement of the Tulsa Literary Coalition states.
The store hosts free events weekly with successful authors, which can all be found on the store website. On Jan. 27, the store held an event partnered with Poetic Justice with poetic readings by women who had been incarcerated. Over 100 people packed inside the store to hear inspiring and authentic poems by women embracing their voices. The Tulsa Literary Coalition built Magic City Books with the passion of changing people’s lives through events.
Smaller meetings of book clubs are important to the store because they spark interest and dialogue among individuals. Groups are based on the book content discussed and change each quarter. The second quarter of free book clubs will open registration the middle of February and will provide details on each club offered. One of the new book clubs will be specifically designed for young adults, in college or recently graduated, who are interested in reading for pleasure.
Magic City Books’ content centers on literary and mainstream fiction and narrative nonfiction for adults, piling high on dozens of shelves. Ingram Content Group is the wholesale supplier for the store, and they welcome self-published authors to submit novels for consideration. Novels and authors are chosen with the customers in mind.
“Our store offers books about individuals’ stories. We sell books about the story of someone building a house rather than a book on how to build a house,” said Bettina Dirks, the store manager.
Fair Fellow Coffee, Antoinette Baking Co. and Marshall Brewing Company stock the coffee bar with fresh drinks and baked goods. Past the stocked shelves rests a quaint cubbyhole set aside for studying and reading. The room feels open yet homey, creating the ideal study spot. The vision was to emulate a warm atmosphere, according to Dirks.
“We promise to offer an experience you will value, programs that make you think, and a community gathering place that will feed your book-loving soul,” assures the service statement of Magic City Books.
Unlike large chain bookstores, Magic City Books focuses on individual customers inside the Tulsa area. They seek to kindle a love for literature and community within each life-changing encounter, whether you read something on a page or hear a testimony at an event.
“At Magic City Books shopping is supporting. I know money is usually tight for college students, and reading for pleasure may not be at the top of your list right now, but you are this country’s future, and we’re depending upon you to preserve the great tradition of indie bookstores and to celebrate books and reading,” said Cindy Hulsey, one of the founders and now the Executive Director of The Tulsa Literary Coalition.
The atmosphere and heart of Magic City Books guarantees an enjoyable experience, whether that is a Tuesday afternoon studying or a Friday night listening to an author. Those who appreciate the community of Tulsa will feel right at home curled up on a velvet green chair with a novel in hand.