Otter Books manager Samara Nicoll is Scotland-bound as part of the Open Book Project, which will give her the opportunity to experience running a small overseas bookstore.

Otter Books manager Samara Nicoll is Scotland-bound as part of the Open Book Project, which will give her the opportunity to experience running a small overseas bookstore.

Otter manager Scotland-bound

A town with a population of just 700, it was nonetheless home to 9 successful book-selling establishments.

When Otter Books manager Samara Nicoll randomly plucked Jessica A. Fox’s memoir Three Things You Need To Know about Rockets off the bookshelf, she had no idea of the journey it was going to take her on.

“On a whim, enticed by the cover I’m not ashamed to admit, I picked up a copy,” said Nicoll. “I loved it, and as I had recently joined the Twittersphere, I found and followed her on Twitter.”

Fox’s memoir describes her experiences going from being an ambitious 26-year-old Hollywood filmmaker with a high-stress job at NASA to running a quaint bookstore in Wigtown, Scotland.

A town with a population of just 700, it was nonetheless home to 9 successful book-selling establishments.

Nicoll was captivated by the story, and found it was inspiring her own reflections.

Then she discovered the Open Book Project, which was calling for volunteer applicants to run a Wigtown bookstore for a 2-6 week period.

Nicoll was successful in her application, and was given the April 27 to May 10 time slot.

“I knew it was going to be a stretch financially for me, as the project only covers a place to stay, but not food and travel expenses. So with the encouragement of family and some close friends I created an Indiegogo campaign to help me get there,” she said.

Contributors will receive postcards and souvenirs while she’s abroad.

Nicoll said this experience will help her work towards her dream of one day having her own establishment.

“I’ve wanted to own my own bookstore since I was 16, and like a turtle I’m slowly getting there,” she said, expressing hope that the experience will give her plenty of ideas to bring back to the Kootenays.

“My plan is to take a bit of Nelson with me, because in terms of towns there are a lot of similarities. We’re a literary town like them, and I don’t know if they have a sister city or not, but I think they should choose us.”

And as the digital age threatens brick and mortar establishments, she’s keen to emphasize the benefits of her trade.

“Bookstores are inherently about community. They’re not just a retail space. You go there to purchase and exchange ideas. What I’m hoping to explore is what it actually means to run a successful bookstore in this digital age.”

Nicoll has already raised $600 of her $1800 goal. The campaign started on February 2 and will close on April 3.

“It’s been pretty great and humbling to see the people who have supported me so far. And I am very grateful, and excited to participate in this project.”

For more information, search for “Samara’s Journey to Literary Scotland” on Indiegogo.com.

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