LARB’s Naked Bookseller Program is a collaboration with independent bookstores to help tell their stories and broaden their visibility across the country and around the world. A basic membership to LARB gets you a 10% discount at our participating partner stores through our Naked Bookseller card. By becoming a member, you support both the Los Angeles Review of Books AND independent booksellers. Below is the story of our newest partner in the program, The Golden Notebook bookstore in Woodstock, New York, told in their own words.
Named after original owner Ellen Shapiro’s favorite Doris Lessing novel, The Golden Notebook opened its doors on June 23, 1978. Shapiro and business partner Barry Samuels leased the storefront that had formerly been Joe Forno’s Colonial Pharmacy. Though there were already two bookstores in town – Twine’s and The Juggler – the pair was convinced theirs would be a cut above. Together they took out a Small Business Administration Loan, and with the help of legendary publisher Betty Ballantine renovated and stocked the store. Continue reading
Photo: Chapel Hill local and YA author Sarah Dessen at a reading at Flyleaf Books
Flyleaf Books is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and hosts hundreds of authors a year. When we asked marketing coordinator Linnie Green to write a piece for LARB, there was no hesitation on the topic. “Rumor has it that if brick-and-mortar bookstores disappear,” she warns, “Amazon plans to institute a mandatory uniform of silly hats and uncomfortable tweed trousers.” How to avoid this fate? Authors, make sure to team up with local bookstores. Continue reading
Photo: Left Bank Books co-owner Kris Kleindienst stands in the bookstore’s doorway, then and now.
By Meg Cook
Last weekend, Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Missouri celebrated its 45th anniversary. The independent bookstore serves the “Gateway to the West” with their large collection of new and used books, and a mission to offer the community “an intelligent, culturally diverse selection of titles with a focus on politics, contemporary arts and literature, high-quality children’s books, African American interest, GLBT titles and more.” Left Bank has never moved from its location in the Central West End of St. Louis – a historic literary neighborhood that has been home to William Burroughs, T.S. Elliot, and Tennessee Williams, among others. Continue reading
By Sarah Hedrick
Pictured above: Sarah and Gary, owners of Iconoclast Books in Ketchum, Idaho, appreciating the view.
Six years ago this month, Gary Hunt, owner of Iconoclast Books in Ketchum, Idaho, was killed in a car accident on his way home from one of the frequent events hosted in his store. He left behind a baby daughter, his wife Sarah and his three “bonus” children (from Sarah’s previous marriage), not to mention three regional stores including a new flagship store and coffee shop in downtown Ketchum, a warehouse for the internet side of the business, and an entire community of people (whether they were seasonal or full time residents) who relied on Iconoclast for its ever growing stock of new, used and rare books, as well as for its open-door policy when it came to matters of community organizing, events, and fundraising. On the sixth anniversary of Gary’s death, Sarah gives us the update from the place where Pound was born and Hemingway died, and the bookstore in Central Idaho that remains, despite everything, truly iconoclastic. – C.P. Heiser
T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruelest month, “mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.” For me, May is possibly worse, and bittersweet, both personally and professionally. It holds both the anniversaries of my marriage to Gary as well as that of his death. Twenty years ago he brought Iconoclast Books to life and since his passing, I’ve honored the legacy of the store, stayed current with the needs of my community, and strived to find the right formula for Iconoclast Books to remain a vital part of both myself and the community; to stay open so that I can continue to do the work I love. Continue reading
The Naked Bookseller is proud to present the story behind California Bookstore Day (this Saturday May 3rd) — a grand notion incubated at the Bay Area’s legendary Green Apple bookstore, recipient of Publisher Weekly’s 2014 Independent Bookstore of the Year Award.
By Samantha Schoech
When you tell people you own a bookstore (or in my case, that my husband co-owns a bookstore) you get one of two responses. There are the delighted readers who imagine you live a life of cozy literary bliss, sipping tea and snuggling a cat in a sun-drenched room where bells on the door alert you to the arrival of an occasional customer. These people gush and tell you how wonderful it is that you own a bookstore.
By far the more common response, however, are the people who let out a little puff of a laugh and say something like, A bookstore? Do they still have those? They think they are being funny. Continue reading