Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Shaman Drum to Close June 30

10. June 2009 • Juliew
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Karl Pohrt announced today that Shaman Drum Bookshop will be closing June 30. The Great Lakes Literary Arts Center will continue.

The text of Pohrt’s message is below:

On the advice of my accountant and my business manager, I am closing Shaman Drum Bookshop June 30. Despite a first rate staff, a fiercely loyal core of customers, a very decent landlord and my own commitment to the community of arts and letters in Ann Arbor, it is clear to me that the bookshop is not a sustainable business.

In spite of the downturn in the economy, Ann Arbor continues to be an excellent book town. There are wonderful independent stores here (Crazy Wisdom, Nicolas’s Books), fine specialty book stores (Vault of Midnight, Aunt Agatha’s) and great used bookshops (Dawn Treader, West Side Books, Motte & Bailey). They need your support.

Over a year ago we began a process to become a non-profit center for the literary arts. I am decoupling Shaman Drum Bookshop from the Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, which should simplify and streamline our IRS application. I will pursue this new venture after we close the store.

Shaman Drum Bookshop has been here for 29 years. We had 28 good years. Thank you for your support. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be a bookseller in Ann Arbor.

-Karl Pohrt



  1. This is sad news for Ann Arbor.


       —Chuck Warpehoski    Jun. 10 '09 - 02:37PM    #
  2. It’s sad news for Karl and for his employees.

    However, there was a long thread at the Ann Arbor Chronicle when Karl first announced his search for a financial partner. A somewhat surprising part of that thread came from posters who were not the least bit surprised SD was closing because of the shabby (snotty) customer service they’d gotten at the shop.


       —UMGrad1234    Jun. 10 '09 - 05:48PM    #
  3. I’m sorry to see them close because they have been an Ann Arbor institution – part of the local color that makes our community what it is. Let’s not forget things they fostered, like the annual book fair. It won’t do the retail environment on State Street any good to lose them, either. They added tone.

    I was heartened to see that trade book business picked up – meaning that the many people (including me) who went in to buy books did make a little difference. But apparently the textbook business was the bread and butter and without that they were not able to maintain the other parts of the business.

    I was treated well when I went in.


       —Vivienne Armentrout    Jun. 10 '09 - 08:22PM    #
  4. Sad. Vivienne is correct, the textbook part of the business, essentially, subsidised the rest of Shaman Drum’s operations. I will miss all the readings and all the interesting stuff I learnt at the Drum


       —Sid Sharma    Jun. 12 '09 - 01:57PM    #
  5. Sorry you won’t be able to gouge students any longer. Boo hoo for Shaman Drum.


       —Sour Grapes    Jul. 1 '09 - 05:44PM    #