Bookshops Vs. Gunshops

Sunday’s New York Times featured an article about the diminished literary scene in Manhattan, highlighted by the loss of bookstores – all of some three dozen bookshops on what was once Book Row (Fourth Avenue between Eighth and 14th Street) are now gone. But what I found interesting was the connection between a community’s literati and its bookstores. Writers, it seems, rely on a network of common hangouts (bars, hotels, restaurants and bookstores) to interact with other writers, or at least those who are interested in writing. Here in Pittsboro, I’ve been surprised – amazed really – by how many of the visitors to Circle City Books over its first two months have been writers. Many self-published, some still agent and publisher shopping, some who’ve already fought their way into the business and now just need to write, but all illustrative of the symbiotic relationship writers have with places like mine. Today a writer from Brooklyn came by and we talked at length about his project – a history of a strike at a nearby wood mill. I don’t know how he found my store, but I guess there is an unmistakable scent that attracts practicing wordsmiths.

Book Row Map
Book Row NYC (Strand Books)

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A Passionate Bookseller–On The Sidewalks Of Manhattan

Sidewalk booksellers were a common sight in New York City when I lived there. And I frequently bought from them. At first I was surprised they were allowed to set up shop–I didn’t notice a merchant’s license, which vendors selling anything from berets to Falafel needed in order to stay in business. A friend of … Read more

There's a Dead Man Lounging in the Park, and Other Curious Tales From Lorry's Bookshop

Lorry’s Book Company occupied an old building where tabloid newspapers once produced copy for the masses. Apparently, it’s also a well known piece of architecture, a fact I’d not known until I looked for photos of the building online. I did realize it was quite an ancient structure, but then so are most of the … Read more

An Illuminating Way To Self Publish

Just when you believe self publishing has reached its limit, along comes a bizarro format, streetlamps. Yes, only in New York City, and in particular the gentrified West Village, would someone post individual pages of his or her ‘book’. Adhered to lamp posts are a one page printed sheet, its contents the ongoing story that … Read more

Drop-Ins: Informal Bookshop Author Signings

It wasn’t until I started at the second mystery bookshop, that I learned how important a signed book is. The first store I worked in, Foul Play, although delightful, was small and predominately paperbacks. An author signing his or her book, never occurred to me. Not until a local author dropped by and asked if … Read more

Niche Bookshops In Manhattan Inspiration for Indie Stores

A super article highlights some fantastic bookstores in NYC. I frequented quite a few while  living there, especially the superlative, Partners & Crime. Read some tidbits about why they continue to be successful.