The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are traditionally when booksellers look back at the year that was and prepare for the busiest few weeks of the year. Danielle Hulton, the co-founder and manager of our November bookstore of the month, Ada’s Technical Books, is in that process right now, and she feels pretty good about where her store is.
“This will be our third holiday” in the store’s new location on 15th Ave, she says, and “the excitement that we felt from customers and from the neighborhood two years ago seems to have stayed.” She says the store has developed a steady flow of regulars, both on the cafe and the bookstore side, and daily patterns have been established. Hulton has transitioned from managing a five-person shop to a store with 20 employees. “I feel like I’m starting to get my legs under me“ so far as management goes, she says. It’s been a year since Ada’s started up The Office, a co-working space in the attic, and Hulton says “the monthly spaces are always completely full, which is wonderful. The daily spaces are picking up steam, and the conference rooms, people are really excited about. Those seem to be rented more than the daily spaces.” It’s starting to feel like a real office up there, Hulton says: “It’s nice for me because my desk is up there and I have a nice group of coworkers that don’t even work at Ada’s.” The next step in Ada’s gradual expansion is to open up an event space, tentatively called The Lab, on the property. Hulton is taking her time to get it right, “fleshing out exactly what it will be.”
As she prepares for the holiday onslaught, what are the books that Hulton looks forward to reading? “I’m really excited about Margaret Atwood’s new novel that she just published, The Heart Goes Last.” And then she sounds a little reticent: “this isn’t even nerdy — it’s an embarrassing obsession. I’m obsessed with the Lunar Chronicles, a YA fantasy series. The final one, Winter, was released last week.” Hulton loves the excitement of retail Christmas. She likes that it highlights the bookstore side of Ada’s, which is “what I’m passionate about.” She enjoys the moments when the store is full of “more people coming in, more people excited to be there, more people seeing what we’re about.” She hopes first-time visitors to the store will understand that it was founded with an idea of providing “accessibility to everybody,” a chance to "be nerdy or geeky about the things that they’re interested in.” She hopes people won’t be turned off by the “Technical” in the store name. “We’re not a general bookstore,” she says, “but we are a store for the general public.”