Book shops

Tenements, Towers & Trash by Julia Wertz

Tenements Towers and TrashWertz‘s book is subtitled “An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York.”

That it is.  When I first found this book in Shakespeare and Co, I was looking for a present for a new New Yorker friends that would give them a new perspective on their new home town. Wertz brings to life not the whole city, but many parts as they have changed through time.

The epigraph of the book is from E. B. White: “There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second,, there is the New York of the commuter–the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and coame to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last–the city of final destination.”

Wertz brings to life all three New Yorks.  Even if you didn’t grow up there, and haven’t moved there, for several hours poring over Wertz’s evocative drawing, and harsh witty writing you can live there through so many periods of the twentieth century.

Don’t miss the 12 pages of the “Biased Guide to New York’s Independent Bookstores.”


CSP (Consumer Supported Publishing)

Piazza-A-CSA-For-Books-1It seems as if  local, personalized, community businesses are going to survive the onslaught even more powerful, and perhaps more ruthless rivals than the chain stores and big boxes, then creating local,  sustainable solutions is the way to go.  And the idea of CSA (community supported agriculture) for books, where people pay a subscription and the books are brought to them, might be one of the paths.  I found an article on the website of the amazing PM Press that was from 2009, and I thought, I wonder how that’s working, and then the New Yorker, published an article about Samantha Haskell and her store, Blue Hill Books in Maine.

Here is the old article, by By Anna ClarkThe American Prospect ,December 3, 2009

As the broader publishing world flounders, alternative presses are turning to their communities for support.

“In search of sustainability, some publishers and booksellers are adapting ideas from the food movement. Community-supported agriculture (CSA) — in which consumers buy a share of a farm’s produce yield for the season — translates to community-supported publishing (CSP), in which readers subscribe to an independent press that in return delivers books to their doorstep every month.”

More articles about Blue Hill Books:
Shelf Awareness
Portland Press Herald


Brad Johnson, a bookseller at Oakland’s Diesel Bookstore, is poised to take over ownership of the store, to be renamed East Bay Booksellers. There are just a few days remaining on the Indiegogo campaign to help with the transition, so we thought now would be a good time to ask Johnson a few questions about moving from bookseller to store-owner.

Why are you doing this . . . it seems crazy

Read the rest of the article on the wonderful Lit Hub

Kindle Flames are Dimming

From an article in The Guardian by Paul Cocozza from April 27, 2017.  ​”The stack of hardbacks and paperbacks on the bedside table has grown so tall it has spawned sub-stacks on the floor.”

There are fewer new readers of digital books, and they tend to consume physical books as well. 

“It’s not about the death of ebooks,” Daunt says. “It’s about ebooks finding their natural level. 

Yoga in the Bookshop Aisles. Downward-Facing Dog in the New Age Section

Quotes from a Washington Post article on Upshur Street Books (827 Upshur St. NW)

“A bookstore, for me, is a place where there can be a cultural conversation,” says Ruppert, who saw a need for “a neighborhood-focused bookstore that would attract people from beyond the neighborhood.”

“We’re able to support a lot of emerging authors, especially local authors, so it’s definitely the right audience,” Thorn says of the community. She lives about three blocks from the store.

Ruppert says he wanted “a place where people can come and they don’t have to buy anything.”

“I can remember being a young college graduate and not having very much money and going to Olsson’s or Kramer’s [bookstores] and hanging out for a couple of hours on a Friday night and reading, so that was definitely part of it.”

Read the full article.  Chick here.

Who Needs Bookstores? We All Do.

Why do we even bother going to bookstores?

For instance, if I want to buy a book I have to walk almost four blocks, and pretty long blocks they are, to After-Words, a two-level shop at 23 E. Illinois St. ( that contains 70,000 new and used books. Google Maps tells me that the walk is only .02 miles, but it sure does seem longer.

Still, as tough as I may have it—sometimes it is raining or very hot or snowing — I can barely imagine the difficulties others have getting their hands on a book. Some people even have to get in their cars and drive to a bookstore.

And why? More…