Monday, September 07, 2009

La morte de la librarie

The New York Times' Arts Beat blog reported a few days ago on the demise of a popular French-language bookshop in Rockefeller Center, the Librarie de France. The shop will close September 30.

Not being much of a fan of New York City, I've never stayed long enough to find gems such as this one, and I'm sorry to hear of its closing. It's a sad trajectory for independent businesses as it is without factoring in the trends in independent bookselling.

On that same day, immediately prior to the news about the Librarie, the NYT published a story about an English bookseller who met a similar fate. That story was both tragic and amusing, because the bloke who owned the scorned shop placed much of the blame on a charitable organization. I can't say I blame him.

As a bibliophile, I admit to being enamored with the image of a dusty English bookshop with its nooks and crannies. Growing up, part of me always wanted to be Helene Hanff and have some dapper, book-finding Englishman all to myself.

However, I also admit to patronizing, Fnac, Barnes & Noble and Borders (where, I might add, I find the majority of my family's birthday and Christmas gifts on the fabulous clearance racks!). I have patronized independent bookstores, but they tend not to stock many of the specialized-interest books in which I'm interested.