Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘indie bookstores’

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Harvard Bookstore as Forbes success story

I’m very lucky to live within walking distance of Harvard Bookstore, one of my favorite bookstores on earth. The fact that it’s an independent bookstore is just icing on the cake—the store is just wonderful, with a great staff, and in a decade I’ve never once succeeded in visiting without spending a half-hour or more there. So I was thrilled to see Forbes recognizing the success of Harvard Bookstore and its owner, Jeff Mayersohn. The title of the article—“The Man Who Took on Amazon and Saved a Bookstore”—reminds you how hard it is to run an indie bookstore these days, […]

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Ann Patchett bests Stephen Colbert

It doesn’t happen often—a guest getting the last word on The Colbert Report?  But it happened just earlier this week, when author Ann Patchett came on the show to explain why she helped open Parnassus Books in Nashville: because she was horrified that her town had NO bookstores. I was lucky enough to hear Ann Patchett in person, at the Muse and the Marketplace conference in Boston a few years ago, and I was impressed by how sharp she was—for example, she delivered a witty and inspiring keynote address without a single page of notes.  (I wish I were cool […]

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The Amazon Rants

You’ve probably read about Amazon’s most recent promotion–they encouraged customers to use their price-check app in stores, scan an item, and then get an extra 5% discount for buying that item on Amazon instead. This promotion occasioned much ranting, including a piece by Richard Russo in the Times, and then a rant from an opposing perspective by Farhad Manjoo in Slate. It won’t surprise regular readers of this site, which routinely suggests buying from independent bookstores and which links to Powell’s most often, rather than Amazon (though we get no kickback from Powell’s, we just like them), to learn that […]

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Help save the St. Mark's Bookshop!

New Yorkers know and love the St. Mark’s Bookshop, a stalwart on the Lower East Side. But lately, the bookstore has been struggling to pay the market rent asked by its landlord, Cooper Union. The NY Daily News reports: The co-owners of the book shop, Terry McCoy and Bob Contant, are set to meet with the school’s officials Wednesday to discuss a rent reduction. The last time the two sides met, in early 2010, Cooper Union was unwilling to budge on the rent, which has increased to $20,000 a month. And the New York Times covers the deep sacrifices the […]

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Second-hand, but not second-rate

Yesterday we talked about why Borders’ demise doesn’t necessarily mean the end of books. Great, you may be saying. But where am I supposed to buy my books now? Well, for new books, consider your local indie bookstore—you can find one near you on the IndieBound website. But there are also amazing used bookstores out there. First, here’s a video on Brazenhead Books, a speakeasy-like (illegal) bookstore in NYC with a secret location—you can read more about them in the New Yorker, too. (Via.) There’s No Place Like Here: Brazenhead Books from Etsy on Vimeo. (By the way, owner Michael […]

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What the end of Borders REALLY means

Borders may be a thing of the past, but does it mean there’s no market for books anymore? The MobyLives blog of Melville House does some pithy analysis: Was this whole thing basically a fifteen-year-long advertisement for Amazon? In a word, no. The story of Borders failure is, first and foremost, a real estate story. Simply, Borders gobbled up a lot of expensive square footage in the real estate boom of the nineties, as did Barnes and Noble, with a seemingly insatiable lust that curdled into craven predatoriness. […] When the economy imploded in 2008, they were locked into severely […]

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Ann Patchett to open bookstore

Disappointed by the lack of bookstores in her hometown of Nashville, writer Ann Patchett is taking matters into her own hands—and opening one. Reports the Christian Science Monitor: As Patchett’s been recounting in interviews on her book tour, a frame shop where she has been a customer since high school asked her if they should stock [her latest novel] “State of Wonder.” They made the offer because, sadly, Nashville’s bookstores – from big-box chains to the 30-year-old Davis-Kidd bookstore – have been shutting down. “It’s very weird to have a book coming out without a bookstore,” Patchett told The Tennessean. […]

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Europa Editions celebrates publication of its 100th book

It was an unbridled love fest. And not only because I was there, Tuesday night in New York City, swooning a little to be in the presence of all those Europa-eans. Author Stacy Schiff described Europa’s Old Filth, by Jane Gardam, as “unforgivably perfect.” Two of the press’s translators, Alison Anderson and Ann Goldstein, spoke of their passion for their work: “If you really love the book, you make it your own,” Anderson said. The event was held at Housing Works Bookstore Café and co-sponsored by McNally Jackson Books—two of New York’s best beloved independent bookstores—and the circle of love […]

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"Find it here. Buy it here."

One of my favorite bookstores, Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, MA, has a new sign up: The sign is intended to remind patrons that buying books in indie bookstores—not just browsing there—is what keeps those stores alive. Explains the bookstore’s email newsletter: The sign is in response to a growing trend at Harvard Book Store (and indeed at bookstores around the country). Folks come in, browse our shelves, get help from booksellers, attend our free events–but then make their purchases online at Amazon. If you like our store and enjoy our services, we’d ask you to think about the power of […]

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