Literati Bookstore’s public typewriter goes virtual

Ann Arbor shop brings back its famed anonymous typewriter during pandemic

Literati's 1930s Smith Corona typewriter in the shop's lower level.
Literati's 1930s Smith Corona typewriter in the shop's lower level. (Literati Bookstore)

ANN ARBOR – With practically everything on hold right now, the list of things that you miss doing in Ann Arbor is likely growing by the day.

From being able to see the first blooms of the peony garden to sitting at your favorite coffee shop sipping an iced drink as the weather warms up, life as we know it has come to a complete halt.

However, one thing that many locals enjoy has gone virtual: Literati Bookstore’s famed typewriter.

While nothing can compare to browsing Literati’s space in person and taking in the familiar scent of freshly-printed books and espresso brewing from above, the bookstore is once again collecting anonymous notes, thoughts and poetry on its website. It even makes the classic click-clack sound.

To make a submission on Literati’s Public Typewriter, click here.

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In 2018, co-owner Mike Gustafson published “Notes from a Public Typewriter” after receiving thousands of anonymous submissions.

“Over the years, thousands of people have typed notes -- about love, loss, and everything in-between,” Gustafson told A4 at the time. “This book, ‘Notes from a Public Typewriter,’ is a collection of our favorite notes, essays, and photographs about this public experiment of ours.”

Literati was one of the first businesses in Ann Arbor to close indefinitely as cases of coronavirus emerged in Michigan. It announced on March 13 it would be closing its doors over public safety concerns for its customers and staff.

Since then, it has shifted its sales online and has raised $122,306 via a GoFundMe campaign launched on March 20 to keep the business afloat during the pandemic.

For more information, visit www.literatibookstore.com.

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