Jun

18

 I came across this article lately with lots of good pictures: "17 Bookstores that will Literally Change Your Life".

It got me thinking about one of our last remaining bookstores in NYC, Strand. Strand sells both used and new books. They were able to sell new books at lower prices because they purchased and sold reviewer’s copies at a 50% discount to the listed price. It used to be that if they did not have a reviewer’s copy in stock one could put an order in to be notified and the book held for a number of days when a copy did become available. But the industry has changed. Reviewer’s copies have become relatively scarce. A large section of their basement used to hold the reviewer’s copies. Now that is down to a few shelves worth. I have not even tried to order a copy and have noticed that the shelves behind the information desk no longer contain those copies put aside for those who have asked. The new books that are not sold as reviewer’s copies are discounted by much less than the discount at Amazon.

Strand still has a used book section for University press books, but I notice that many of those have “not for resale” stamped on the sides. I have no idea what the legal liabilities are for those initial sellers, Strand or the ultimate buyers when they are resold anyway. Strand still sells used art books typically at a 40% discount. Most of their shelves are still devoted to used books.

Many of the book stores of the 17 pictured, unlike Strand, are attractive. Strand now has air conditioning, unlike the hot basement in the summer in ages past. But attractive it is not. Ages ago we had Scribner’s on Fifth Avenue, which was attractive but is long since gone. The next best in that regard was probably Rizzoli, which recently closed its NYC store. They are apparently looking for a new location. It’s a real shame that NYC does not have one of these great book stores aside from Strand. But I have been as guilty as so many others in browsing at those stores and then buying where I could get the best price. Even Barnes and Noble has changed in that large sections of their stores now sell items other than books, often games and such for children.


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