Want to know more about Detroit? This bookshop has you covered

Make sure to check out Pip’s recommendations

Getting lost in the pages of a book is something Pages Bookshop owner Susan Murphy loves to do.

“I’ve always been a reader,” says Murphy. “For me, it is a perfect entertainment... for me to sit down with a book, especially if it is a book that really grabs me. So, it takes me out of the current day, it just can absorb me.”

Running a bookstore, however, is something she decided to do later in life after seeing a need in the community. She was a professor at a local college and noticed many of her students were not able to read or write very well. This inspired her to go back to school to get a degree in library science with the hope of doing community outreach at a local library. When getting a job at a library proved difficult due to the recession, she decided to open a bookstore instead.

What started off as a pop-up down the street, became a fully-fledged bookstore in May of 2015. She called it Pages Bookshop, and filled it with the titles she loved.

“A very wise woman told me, ‘do stuff that you like because you can sell what you like.’ So that is literary fiction and children’s books,” explains Murphy.

As she got to know the neighborhood better, she quickly added sections on political science, social science, and history.

It’s located in the Grandmont-Rosedale neighborhood on Detroit’s north side. Having lived or worked in Detroit her whole life, it was important to her to remain in the city.

“I felt like Detroit was underserved,” says Murphy. “Like if you are walking down the street you didn’t see a book store, so you never had anything to say, ‘oh that looks like a good book,’ or come in and just touch books or talk about books.”

Pages Bookshop also has an entire section dedicated to books about Detroit. These cover everything from Detroit’s history and music, to the Coney Islands and street art.

If you are looking for a recommendation, you may want to ask Pip, their bookstore cat. She will often greet customers as they walk in, and posts her recommendations on their social media.

During the pandemic, Murphy says she moved a lot of her sales online, though she says prefers it when people stop by in person. She loves discussing books with her customers and says there is an art to browsing a bookshop.

“They’ll see new books and new titles, and new authors that they would have never thought about,” says Murphy.

For the full story, watch the video above.

Pages Bookshop hosts a variety of events like author meet and greets, as well as two book clubs. It is located at 19560 Grand River Avenue, between Southfield and Evergreen in Detroit.

About the Author:

Michelle Oliver is a multimedia Journalist for the 10 a.m. lifestyle show, "Live in the D." She is known as "the food girl" because of her two popular food franchises, Dine in the D and Find Your Fix. Michelle also covers stories on homegrown businesses, style, and other fun things happening in the D.