CLEVELAND — It’s an experience that just can’t be replaced, no matter how much technology we have at our fingertips.
“It ticks off all the boxes for your senses," said Aaron Terkel.
Browsing title after title, in search of the next page-turner.
“The smell of the ink and the paper, the tactile feeling of the page and the cover in your hand," said Terkel.
Locally-owned Visible Voice Books, appropriately located near the corner of Professor Ave. and Literary Rd. in Tremont, is bringing that magic back for book worms one reservation at a time.
“It’s been insane, and far and beyond our wildest dreams," said Terkel, the bookstore's general manager.
In March Visible Voice Books shut down due to the pandemic. Though the lights were off inside for nearly five months, books were flying off the shelves.
"We really turned our attention to the online side of things. We were filling orders by mail, filling orders with curbside pickup here at the shop," he said. "People were home and had a little more time on their hands to read a couple more books than they would've otherwise,"
While this helped incredibly— it was still obvious, Terkel said, people missed being with those they care about and enjoying the simple pleasures in life - like walking around a bookstore.
“There’s really nothing like it," he said.
But now, that’s back, and you can even have the cozy spot all to yourselves.
The shop is allowing groups of eight people to rent the bookshop for 90-minute private browsing sessions. For $50, groups get a bottle of wine, a two-topping pizza from the shop's neighbor, Crust, and the entire store to themselves.
Visible Voice Books began taking reservations in August and it's been a huge hit.
“Just an overwhelming response," he said. “We’ve had birthday parties, anniversaries, you name it’s been in here. So many reading recommendations might come from your friends or your relatives or close acquaintances, so it’s been cool to see a little blip of normalcy in a year where everything is not normal.”
Bonnie Flinner, the owner of Prosperity Social Club, was one of the first people to sign up.
"It was so much fun," she said.
Flinner said supporting a local business while feeling safe with her husband and friends, was all she needed for a great night out. Now she’s spreading the word about the sessions.
"Just a really great time. It was very positive. All of our friends were really happy that we invited them and we want to do it again."
Terkel said the business never planned to keep this around for very long but added that due to the positive response, it's not time for this story to end just yet.
“I just opened the calendar into 2021 for these reservations," he said.
Reservations can be made online at Visible Voice Books. Click here for the information.