Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Salon: Another Bookstore Is Closing

So making the rounds with my husband yesterday afternoon,  I was very disappointed to learn that Seek Books, a science fiction specialty used bookstore in Boston, is closing at the end of March. Jeff and I have been shopping here on and off since the beginning, more or less; owner Brad Kinne contacted me via email after seeing my blog to tell me about the store and invite me to stop by. I did, and brought my science-fiction-loving husband, and we've been customers ever since.

I've just about fallen in love with Asimov, the beautiful white bookstore cat, and Jeff and I have made afternoons of visiting West Roxbury- lunch, stops at other shops along Centre Street, a cupcake at Sugar Bakery- every now and then. We found a lot of treasures at Seek, which specializes in classic SF and collectibles and has always had an impressive selection for the small size of the store. We bought some things yesterday and we are going to try to stop by before it closes for good. If you're in the Boston area, do him a solid and help take some inventory off his hands before he departs for New Mexico.

I'm not going to turn this into a diatribe against Amazon and I'm sure most of you can guess my feelings but it makes me crazy to see a store like this go out that should have a big following in this area. The book business is tough these days and that may not be the only issue but it sure doesn't help. I would send customers to Seek whenever I could, and the bookstore where I work as a lot of SF readers who would have been (and maybe were) great customers there, too. The location wasn't great, and who knows what else was going on behind the scenes, but this store was a great (too) hidden gem and I will miss it, and I'll miss Brad and Asimov and I'll miss our afternoons out in that area. There's really not much else in that direction that's going to get us there, sadly.

I think about all the bookstores I visited in London and Dublin (and I know lots have closed there too!) and it depresses me that Boston can't seem to support a rich and varied bookstore landscape the way they can. Why is that? Is it just Amazon? Is it rising rents? Other small-business issues? Boston only has one independent new-book bookstore. One! Boston! That's crazy. And how many- one, maybe two Barnes and Noble outlets? Ridiculous. Why is this? This is supposed to be an academic city, a city that prides itself on its smarts. On its book smarts. So what's the problem, Boston?

Okay, rant over. Back to your Sunday activities. Please, please, please- if you value books and book culture, please support your independent bookstores and your local used bookstores. They need you.


bermudaonion said...

I try to buy local as much as I can but I know so many people who do a lot of shopping online. I can't make them understand that those websites do nothing for the community. I'm worried about our local indie right now.

Suzanne Yester said...

It is so sad that there are so many independent bookstores closing. There are none now near me, and one about 40 minutes away that just got saved by someone purchasing it. I do love independent bookstores, there's just a wonderful atmosphere in one.

Suzanne @ Chick with Books

moazzam sheikh said...

It's a multifaceted. You can't ensure the independent bookstore culture if we don't have a problem with chain culture in general. If we don't educate ourselves regarding the overall negative effect of corporations on our culture, it's hard to convince people to support a local bookstore, just as it is difficult to convince a local bookstore to not privilege book pubishers. In other words, popularity of soda is connected to the rise of fast food chains which connected to the spread of Starbucks phenomenon, connected to people not valuing things like independent cafes and bookstores . . .

Anonymous said...

We have an indie that's close and I do visit and purchase, but I'll be honest, I don't care for the way it's set up. I'd do it all differently, of course :) It is not user friendly and I think that cannot help sales. We ere there 40 minutes Saturday night after dinner and we were the only 2 customers there the whole time. Not good.