Bookstore as Party Central

The old sawhorse about independent bookstores is that they establish and nurture local community. This can be ephemeral, sure, and also accidentally amusing – see Elliott Bay Books’s note about their new location, which mentions the wood detailing three times in one sentence.

I predicted earlier that 2010 will see indies experimenting with different kinds of value, defining community in different ways. Maybe we don’t have to wait.

Last night Ami, Eric and I attended HUGE‘s holiday bash at Powerhouse Arena. The party was loads of fun and executed perfectly, but what struck Ami and I was how many 2009 events we’d been to at Powerhouse. Book readings, the NBA 5 Under 35 gathering, even a rock concert.

This is your bookstore.

How many bookstores do you know have such adventurous programming? Or rent out their space to hip design firms? Or publish their own books? These might be the new attractors that help independents thrive. (It’s also reason #16 why I want to live in Dumbo.)

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Filed under bookstore buys

3 responses to “Bookstore as Party Central

  1. Good stuff. This really works.

    Since May of this year, the Philly Liars Club which includes SMP authors Dennis Tafoya, and Jonathan Maberry have been on our Truth Tour for Independent Bookstores. Details and plenty of pics are available on the Liars Club website at

    Every month we throw a party at a different indie bookstore to raise awareness in the Philly area, and it looks like we’ll be taking it further out next year and including libraries.

    So if you’re not doing anything Saturday, we’re doing an all-day double header at Farley’s Book Shop and Canterbury Tales in New Hope, PA.

    Bring booze, it’s supposed to be chilly.

  2. Great! My favourite bookstore in Oxford, UK, The Albion Beatnik, is a huge supporter of events. He has a fantastic basement space where poetry groups meet,and the upstairs is a fantastic open plan where people can enjoy music and readings whilst browsing through the shop’s speciality – books on Jazz and the Beat Poets. Indie stores done well can be at the centre of the cultural pulse.

    On that note, I’m hugely excited about the new store To Hell With Books, opening today at Woburn Walk in London

    • The Liars Club bookstore parties have been a lot of fun, and they’ve done substantial good for indies –locally, with those stores benefitting from crowds who come to the parties; and nationally as the whole LC blast the value of indies via our social networking.

      It would be a bleak damn world without the indies.

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