Tuesday, October 03, 2006


earth/city reborn in anger

Jonathan Mayhew once stated on Bemsha Swing that he hadn't blogged for a few days because "nothing had made him angry enough". I was taken aback by that formulation, wondering why electronic journal-keeping had to be so much the agent of fury. I wondered for what percentage of bloggers this was indeed the case. I also realized of course that Jonathan was making a humorous remark that was not intended to be the whole of the truth.

But now I find myself shaken out of my blogging torpor of months by virtue of wanting to SCREAM in regard to today's news concerning the imminent closing of Manhattan's Coliseum Bookstore at the 42nd Street location, across from Bryant Park and the New York Public Library system's Main Research Library, at which it had been resurrected since June 2003 (this Independent Bookstore had been inactive for 18 months after its existence from 1974-2002 at 57th and Broadway near Columbus Circle).

I learned of this on Silliman's blog today, where there are links to articles from The New York Times and The New York Sun. As I stated in Silliman's comment box I want to make a public vow not to buy any book or CD or whatever from Barnes and Nobles for one full year. Presumably I will renew this vow the year after that, and the year after that.

I shouldn't even walk into those damn places, with their cooled-out dopey depressive corporate ambience, even though it's sometimes convenient to look up facts in the books on their shelves, and always amusing to discover the rather frequent category mistakes in the books' shelving. Did I say depressing: the worst thing is to see the people slumped in undignified positions, sitting down on the floor with their backs against the wall, sitting down with their backs tilting away from the wall and their legs stretched out, or slumped in various other ways, because they want to use one or more of b&n's books for a long time, they don't want to or cannot stand for that length of time, and the few chairs that have been provided by store management are occupied. Oy, what poor, sad refugees these slumped persons seem!

What I didn't even notice when I made my comment on Silliman's this morning was that the linked-to New York Times article says that the venerable Gotham Book Mart "for financial reasons faces eviction from its space at 16 East 46th Street". Them too, so soon after their move from their long-time location in the midst of the 47th Street diamond district?

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We have a good bookstore up here in the Catskills called the Bibliobarn. It's in a town called South Kortright. The village of Hobart has several good bookstores but they are open only on weekends.

Some new bookstores will open, too.

An Italian diplomat is opening a foreign language bookstore in Hobart. It's becoming a kind of mecca and people do come up from the city all the time to shop in these stores.

Bibliobarn has a semi-annual sale at Thanksgiving where everything is half off. The owner often makes over 10 grand on that day.

I wonder if independent bookstores will continue to stay open in the larger cities. My brother runs a Barnes & Nobles in Georgetown DC. I rather like Barnes & Nobles. They aren't that bad in terms of their selection, but I can rarely afford to buy new books.

I buy almost only used books from the Bibliobarn or off of Amazon.com.

But I will still go in to Barnes & Nobles. They offer mostly the big books by the big publishers. It's been very hard to get my books even into my own brother's bookstore, but once in there, they do sell.

Even my book on Corso has sold a few copies at his bookstore at the cover price of 40 dollars.

I asked the Barnes & Noble down in Binghamton to carry my novel TEMPING and they did buy SIX copies. I do think that people who run those stores are still people. It's ok to go into them. We need all kinds of bookstores, and it's better to have a nice smart chain than to have nothing at all I suppose.
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