Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bookstores I Wish I Had Visited Before It Was too Late


I make a habit of visiting any interesting bookstore that I run across while traveling, but there are so many wonderful stores that I will never get to that it makes me a little sad to think of what I'm missing. Here's an example of a bookstore that I will never see other than through this wonderful YouTube video.

Brooklyn's Community Bookstore seems to have closed its doors sometime in 2016, but what an adventure it would have been to spend a day shopping there. It had to have been a sad day for the neighborhood when this one closed its doors for the final time. But time moves on, and the 69-year-old owner of the store just couldn't keep up the pace anymore, so another unique bookstore bit the dust.   But don't feel too sorry for owner John Scioli because after doing business in it for thirty years, he sold the building for $5.5 million. (Location, location, location.)

12 comments:

  1. I hate to see independent bookstores close their doors. There used to be a dozen different bookstores near me, and now there's like two. It's sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had the same experience here, Lark. There used to be half a dozen within easy driving range of me, plus two Barnes & Noble stores, a huge Borders bookstore, and a Walden's. Now I'm down to the two B&N stores and a Half Price Books location. I have to drive deep into Houston to find other choices.

      Delete
  2. Thanks SO much for putting this up. As much as I love old, crowded bookstores, I don't think I could have gone in there. It was just too much for me. Too cluttered. I treasure books so much that I want each one seen and available. I couldn't even - what do they call it when you put a row of books behind another on a shelf?? Anyhow, I couldn't do that. I love seeing each individual one on my shelves, as I would on bookstore shelves. He seemed like a sad, lost soul, and likely the hoarding got serious after his wife died. I felt bad for him. Glad though that he likes his neighborhood so much that he wanted to stay there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He did appear to be overwhelmed by it all, and at his age, I can imagine that fighting the clutter was just physically too big a challenge for him. But I was impressed that he still knew his stock well enough to snag a requested book in a reasonable amount of time. This all happened three years ago, so I hope he's doing well these days.

      Delete
    2. I wonder if many, a lot, most people who have lots of books or papers can put their hands on an item. I can pretty much do that in my house, but I don't think I could with all his stuff! I wonder, too, if bereavement or trauma can bring about hoarding like that. Fascinating subject. If I had to choose, I suppose I would choose his place over a sterile, soul-less, empty place.

      Delete
    3. I can often picture a book in my mind and where it should be, only to realize when I go for it that I'm picturing where it was on the shelves before I reworked them two or three times back. And sometimes I go for a book only to remember when I go for it that I culled it from my collection weeks or months ago. It's things like that they make me wonder how he could possibly keep up with where anything was in a shop in which books were literally falling to the floor in bunches.

      A shop like his would always keep me hoping that I might discover some long lost gem that he didn't even know he had. Going to indie bookstores used to be like treasure hunting here in Houston, but in this age of computers, it's really hard to find a real treasure at a bargain price anymore.

      I used to hate to part with a single book, no matter what condition it was in or whether or not I was likely ever to open it again. But I got over that when I realized that if I were to be able to keep bringing new books into the house an equal number of books were going to have to leave the premises. Believe it or not, it gets easier and easier to part with them.

      Delete
  3. I think if I had the money I could make a nice life travelling the world visiting interesting bookshops. I remember a wonderful place, I think it was at Fort McHenry near Baltimore, that specialised in crime books. I could've spent a day in there, easily.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wouldn't that just about be the perfect life, Cath? I don't know that bookstore near Baltimore (I try to avoid getting too close to the city, actually) but we do have a great crime/mystery bookstore in Houston that you would love. It's called Murder by the Book, and it's one of my favorite Houston-area bookstores.

      Delete
    2. Yes, it most certainly would. My husband and I even fantasize sometimes about spending a whole year going around the USA in a campervan. Truthfully I don't think we have it in us to do it but...

      It's our habit not to get too near to cities too, 'anywhere' not just when we're in the US. But we were with friends from Pittsburgh who had just discovered the wonderful bay area of Baltimore and wanted to show us, so off we went. My husband found driving in Baltimore quite an experience but we got there. (We were following their car because we were heading off to Chesapeake Bay after and they were returning home.) We took a boat trip that went to Fort McHenry but I can't remember whether I knew about the bookshop beforehand or whether we just came across it. I *do* remember the sweltering 95f heat though! And this was mid-September. Fun times.

      Delete
    3. I live in the fourth largest city in the U.S. and I've learned, sadly enough, that large cities are inherently dangerous places to be, especially if you are unfamiliar with them. Plus, when I'm on the road, I want to experience the opposite of my everyday life. All big cities are pretty much the same, so unless there's something in them that I specifically want to see, I avoid them.

      Delete
  4. I love visiting used bookstores too, but I admit that one might have me a bit claustrophobic. And how would I ever get out of there- I'd spend hours and hours and hours sifting through all the stacks- what if just the book I've been wanting to read for years is behind one of those double rows on the shelves?

    Sadly, I just went to a wonderful bookstore in Asheville, NC on a vacation, only to find when I was at the checkout counter, that half my books were marked down because the owner was finally going to close the doors the next month. He was elderly, and sounded like it was getting to be too much. I assume he couldn't find someone to buy the business, and that made me feel sad. (I heard him say to a customer he apparently knew well: Hey, do you want to run a bookstore? I'm not kidding!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, that seems to be the trend despite what I keep reading about indie bookstores doing better than at anytime in the last couple of years. I see no evidence of that trend anywhere around me.

      I found a bookstore on the internet during a road trip that ran me through Lafayette, LA, a couple of years ago and happily pulled off the interstate to hunt it down. Thirty minutes later I pulled into the parking lot to find a for sale sign on the building and nothing but empty bookshelves inside. And that was supposed to be one of the best indie shops in the whole state of Louisiana according to the search engine I used to find it.

      I suppose it's not easy to find young people willing to go into the bookstore business these days because all they've lived through is the decline in the business. That's all they know, and they have no reason to believe that it will ever turn around.

      You're right about those aisles making you feel a bit claustrophobic...it did look like kind of a firetrap. But, good grief, he sold that building for $5.5 million. Not too bad an investment on his part, I would think.

      Delete