Our latest stockist interview is with Janneane & Benjamin Blevins, the owners of PRINTtEXT, a new bookstore in Indianapolis that maintains a highly curated stock of magazines, art books and emerging publications. With an eye for design and a love for engaging material, PRINTtEXT is helping transform the literary & art scene of the Midwest.
What led you to opening PRINTtEXT?
The stars aligned and we opened the shop up rather quickly the winter of 2013. We’ve lived in an incredible 1920s apartment in Indianapolis for years, and when our landlord mentioned one of the retail spots below us was opening up, we took it. Within a month, we had designed, stocked and opened PRINTtEXT. The longer story—we’ve long been admirers of the printed & bound. When we were dating, a night for us was going out for coffee and scouring the racks at Barnes & Noble and Borders. And we’ve always loved travelin—we’d come back home with a suitcase full of magazines. For the last several years, we’ve been living and working (remotely) in Paris for month-long spans. The cafes, parks and walking the streets, even their newsstands are well curated. We fell in love with a shop, called 0fr, in the Marais that was full of stacks, rather than racks of magazines. Periodicals were piled on tables and cases all over the tiny store, with the most obscure and beautiful titles, and deep archives going back to the 70s. When we started PRINTtEXT, we were excited by the idea of building a place where magazines live.
What vision do you have for your store?
We’re ambitious about operating at the intersection of civics and culture and building a multi-city and multidisciplinary dialogue through PRINTtEXT. Since the beginning, we’ve operated as more than just a retail spot.
What kind of publications are you drawn to?
We carry titles ranging from fashion, architecture & design, literature, art, political theory, food writing, etc ad infinitum. Most of these are chosen according to our own tastes—we’re compelled by titles that offer connectivity and a point of view.
Can you talk about why your space is unique?
We’re the only shop in the Midwest, and possibly even the only one not in a cultural capital that specializes in publications the way we do—carrying the emerging and rare alongside the mainstream and established. We have folks who drive down from Chicago and Detroit to shop here, or visitors from New York and LA who find titles here that they couldn’t find elsewhere.
As far as design and atmosphere goes, we asked our good friend & designer, Stephen Garstang, to decorate our shop. He selected furniture (vintage and new) that had a monumental, sculptural sort of appeal. We have this incredible table from the 80s by Karl Springer, and a fabulous Erwin Lambeth purple striped sofa. The layout of our shop is more salon / living room than bookstore, so you’ll see our periodicals displayed on tables, but still loosely organized by category: Art & Architecture; Fashion & Photography; Food & Travel; and Political & Literary.
What kind of environment do you try to promote? Any specific programming you want to talk about?
Our store space was designed to be a place for things to happen. Beyond functioning as a shop, PRINTtEXT is a salon, archive and study. We host magazine & book launch parties, poetry readings, political & literary discussion groups, art openings and collaborate with cultural organizations.
How do you see PRINTtEXT evolving in the future? How do you see it fitting into the broader arts community in Indianapolis?
Indianapolis is an awesome place to build a business. It’s affordable, central and has a very tight knit and supportive community. We’ve been so grateful for our loyal supporters. Keeping one foot home in Indianapolis, we’d love to continue building outward and beyond. We’ve already started collaborating with some really awesome partners in other cities, and hope that we can keep up a healthy exchange of exporting & importing ideas—by bringing in editors, guest speakers, artists & activists.
What are your favorite publications in the store? Why?
n+1, Riposte and Cherry Bombe are our most popular and definitely amongst our favorites—they’re the titles we love telling people about, sharing the amazing work these publishers are doing with our customers. We also get excited by White Zinfandel, PIN-UP, 032c, A Magazine Curated By, Verso Books, Toilet Paper, Adult and Boat.