Recently, we learned about a new bookstore in California that carries only books published by small press and independent authors: Pipe & Thimble. Their grand opening is May 6, 2017 in Lomita, CA, and it’s been very fun to watch this unique bookstore come together through the posts on their Facebook page. Dealing with bookstores as a small press can often be frustrating, but Barbara and Ellie Lieberman of Pipe & Thimble know those frustrations quite well themselves, and made the process of getting a few World Weaver Press books onto their shelves pleasant and painless. If you’re in the area, please be sure to stop by Pipe & Thimble, and let us know about your experience!

Below, Barbara and Ellie answer a few questions about their new store and their vision.

PictureImage from the P&T Facebook page.

Can you tell us a little about how Pipe & Thimble Publishing got started and why you decided to branch out to become an indie bookstore?

Pipe & Thimble comes from a handmade miniatures business started by our parents and grandparents. The pipe was a reference to Richard Austin, known for smoking a pipe with cherry tobacco, who did all the wood working of the perfectly-to-scale furniture and the thimble was a reference to Peg Austin who did the sewing and painting details. When Peg got sick, Barbara stepped in as the thimble. Our bookstore and publishing company are based on the charm of the miniatures, as well as the way Richard and Peg conducted business, with fairness, respect, and creating a community.

About two handmade businesses and a number of self-published books later, we began to grow frustrated in dealing with both local bookstore and big chains. Between the outrageous cost, lack of respect, and lack of understanding of the indie author experience, we turned these frustrations and disappointments into something positive. We wanted to “do indie better,” by offering a platform that is often unavailable to indie authors and do better by them. With both the knowledge of the inner workings of the indie world, including how we differ from big press and the amazing sense of community, as well as the knowledge of how to run a business, we thought we’d try our hand at it.

Aside from books, what are some of the crafts and other artisanal goodies that customers will be able to find at your store?

As an indie bookstore, we really want to support every aspect of the indie community. This includes musicians. We not only carry their CDs, but every second Friday, we’ll have live music.

Along with indie music, we are working with a small number of handmade artisans. Their products include pincushions made out of vintage fabric, bags and neckware made of recycled vintage neckties, embroidered handbags and plushies, greeting cards, art prints, soap, bath and body products, and jewelry (including Viking Knit Jewelry and Guitar Pick Earrings). We also have product from our own handmade business including fairy houses, fairy doors, and other fairy products, as well as scented dryer balls, scented bookmarks, and other scented products. We’d also be greatly remiss if we didn’t mention our miniature thimble bears.

Other items we carry include book swag. From posters to charm bracelets to mugs to coasters to more. We also have these amazing hand knit chrysalis and butterfly made by one of our authors to go along with her book.

Going forward, we’re planning on having scented candles, handmade dolls, scented candles and more! We would also love to work with indie filmmakers and other parts of the indie community.