A Bookstore that Serves the Prison Community

This week we’re talking with Johnny Ardis, board member of Open Books and The Prison Book Project, a used bookstore and 501c3 nonprofit in Pensacola that sends books to inmates across Florida. We dive into the origin story of both the bookstore and the nonprofit and how it has evolved over the years, including how the pandemic affected them. Open Books is 99% donation based and volunteer-run, and Johnny shares the intricacies of depending on donations and volunteers to run a business. We also learn ways to get involved with The Prison Book Project and ways to start something similar in your area.

Mentioned in this episode: 


@CRollwagen on Instagram

Open Books & The Prison Book Project 

Subterranean Books

James Patterson 

First City Art Center

About Carrie

Carrie Rollwagen is host of the Localist podcast and cofounder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Currently, she works as Vice President of Strategic Planning at Infomedia, a web development company in Birmingham, Alabama. Find the Localist at @thinklocalist on Instagram and follow Carrie at @crollwagen.

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