I first heard about Arkbooks last fall, and ever since I have been determined to visit their store once it open. When I got the idea to interview the people behind Arkbooks, I wasn’t sure whether or not they would agree to do it. But of course they did, and we decided to do the interview through e-mail, because I wasn’t sure when I would be able to go to Copenhagen again in the nearest future. Arkbooks will be opening on april 1st, and will only be selling English books. When I got their answers I was not disappointed. The project sounded amazing right from the beginning, and now it sounds kind of like a dream come true and I can almost see them sitting at the table drinking wine while discussing the idea of opening a bookstore.
You can read more about Arkbooks on their website.
How do you know each other?
“From all over; aarhus, copenhagen, LiteraturHaus and university”.
Who and how did you come up with the idea to open an English bookstore in Copenhagen?
“Three years ago, half of ark books sat at a kitchen table drinking wine. The idea of opening a bookshop came up, and we were so infatuated with it that we ended up being six hours late for the party we were going to. However, being busy students with no money to invest, the thought was parked in the big idea bank – until about a year ago, where the location, the team and the opportunity suddenly came together. We had to take this chance and live out a lifetime dream”
What made you decide to raise the money instead of getting a loan in a bank?
“If you know anyone in the banking world who would like to lend four girls a lot of money to open a non-profit bookshop, please send them our way. Jokes aside, we didn’t really have an alternative – but we are really happy with the way it has turned out. Raising money this way means that we have been backed by our entire community from day one. It also gave us an opportunity to test the idea and realize that there are actually a lot of people in Copenhagen and the rest of the world who thinks that ark books is a great idea. That makes the project feel even more worthwhile”
The bookstore will be run by volunteers – how is that going to work?
“We all have a volunteering background and have seen for ourselves just how many talented and enthutiastic people there are out there, people who believe that the cause is greater than the paycheck, people who would be willing to put a lot of work into a project”.
Is it your plan to make it your fulltime job at some point?
“No. We have no plans of paying ourselves – we would rather keep the books cheap, so our customers can read more great books”
Raising money for something like this is not that common in Denmark, and might put other people off from trying to do the same thing. Do you have any advice or ideas for others who might consider trying to raise money for something similar?
“You’ll be surprised how supportive your community will be if you ask them for help. The fact that we don’t have a tradition of crowdfunding in Denmark might even be an advantage. Don’t give up halfway, most campaigns don’t reach their goal until the very last minute. Just a little tip for whoever who wants to crowdfund their project; research, research, research”.
You open in April – how is that going to go off?
“We are going to have a four day long opening reception – stop by and have a drink on us and have a look in the shop”
On your website it says “ark books will read all the books and choose the best ones for our shop for you to read” – what were you initial thoughts behind only allowing books you have already read in your bookstore?
“The main idea is to be able to make the perfect match between reader and book. We would love to be able to read all books in the world to pick the very finest, but that isn’t possible in four lifetimes. However, we read as much of our stock as humanly possible, and the rest is meticulously researched or recommended from well-read people we trust. The idea is to be able to match reader and book”.
Can you recommend a book or two that you will be selling in your bookstore?
“We can recommend hundreds. One of the books we just send out as a perk in the crowdfunding campaign is “Tomorrow Pamplona” by Jan Van Mersbergen. We send this recommendation along with it: the thought of running away have occurred to most of us at some point. what if you actually ran only to find out, that the only way you could keep on running was to stand completely still? “a boxer does not run away, a boxer listens to the count”. a broken man travels across europe wondering if he will ever be whole – if he ever was. TOMORROW PAMPLONA is a knockout story, which tells what needs to be told and not a word more – a story about a bell that just won’t stop ringing”.
Sounds great right? Perhaps I will see you there on April 1st?♥