Hungry Mind Unveils New Name: National Ground Swell of Name Ideas Leads to New Identity for Bookstore, Review and Press

What's in a name? Hungry Mind, the popular St. Paul bookseller and publisher found out, after selling rights of the name to an online university and announcing plans to change their moniker after 29 years. Hungry Mind received an outpouring of interest an
A core team representing all three Hungry Mind entities-bookstore, press, and review publication-- sifted and sorted through hundreds of ideas that had come via email and snail mail, phone and Internet, and late-night brainstorm sessions at coffee houses and Irish pubs. Hungry Mind was looking for that perfect name to embody the independent, funky spirit they are known for. They finally found it in a name emailed in by a customer: Ruminator.

"Imagining us under a new name was hard at first," said owner David Unowsky, "but our staff and customers and fans really got into the fun. And, searching for a new name got us to think seriously about who we are and what's important in our identity. We are here, ultimately, to put good books in the hands of people with hungry minds--that's what we do across the board through the bookstore, the book review magazine, and most recently the press."

"If you look up 'ruminate' in the dictionary, you'll see the first definition is 'to go over in the mind repeatedly.' Another definition is 'to engage in contemplation or reflect' and a synonym is 'ponder,'" said Pearl Kilbride, publisher of the press. "Isn't that what reading is all about? It's about having a thirst for knowledge and wanting to think and, well, ruminate."

The customer who came up with the chosen name summed up the reasoning in her email message: "I think the definition says it all-a bookstore that entices one to muse, consider and chew over literary works. Plus, I like the comando-Schwartzenegger overtones-like I'm saving the world in a sexy, glitzy way by reading a good book!"

The name-search process produced much food for thought, or, ideas upon which to ruminate. "We originally had planned to have a new name by the end of last November," said Tom Bielenberg, bookstore manager, "but we got such a huge response from employees and customers and fans around the country, we decided to change our strategy. We really wanted time to include all the ideas that were flowing in-in fact, our customers even asked us to put up a suggestion box at our register and put a virtual one on our web site. It was incredible." The hundreds of suggestions make quite an eclectic list, including Famished Brain, Cortical Cravings, Dave's Books & Bait, Lost Our Name Books, The Read Menace, Skeptic Tank and Vernacular. "The biggest challenges for us were trying to find a name that was a good fit for all three of our entities plus keeping all the potential names a tight secret," said Bielenberg.