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Articles    H4'ed 1/9/14

Why Should We Care About Bookstores? Who Reads Anymore, Anyway?

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JB: My two favorite places on earth are libraries and bookstores so, of course, I'd love to visit your library as well! Apparently, there's also a Crawford Doyle book club. How does it work? 

JD:  Our book club is pretty informal.  Essentially, it is based on us sending a book each month to various customers around the world who trust our judgement.   Each customer receives  books selected specifically for him or her based on our knowledge of books they have enjoyed in the past.  Willa Robertson, a very astute young lady, makes the choices, sometimes consulting with others.  Thomas, our manager, also has an individual following of people who trust his judgement about what they should consider reading. Most independent bookstore staffs eventually develop these relationships, in my experience.  I know a number of collectors who expect me to let them know if I obtain a book in their area of collecting, such as a Faulkner or Steinbeck first edition which I obtain.

JB: Wonderful! I've heard that authors whose books grace your shelves come in to shmooze and peruse your wares. Is that true?   

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JD: Lots of authors visit us.  Over the years, we have made friends with many of them and look forward to their periodic appearances. One of my favorites is William Boyd, one of Britain's most popular authors (Restless, Any Human Heart) who visits regularly when he comes to New York.  He just wrote the latest James Bond Novel, Solo, so we are hoping he will stop by soon on a tour. Other British authors we see include A. S. Byatt, Ian McEwan and Martin Amis. Woody Allen stops in to check out the latest releases. And a great friend of the store is the Irish author, Colum McCann, whose Let the Great World Spin won a Pulitzer.  His latest book, nominated for several awards, is Transatlantic. Colum tipped us off a few years ago to Stoner by John Williams, one of the least-known, best novels of the last 50 years.  We persuaded the editors at The New York Review of Books to reissue it and now it's their number one seller.

Many notable neighbors shop in our store, of course.  Candace Bergen is a favorite.  So are Diane Sawyer and Mike Nichols. Tom Wolfe, as I mentioned, is a neighbor and friend.  A few years ago, to our surprise, Benjamin Netanyahu came in and asked if we carried his father's book.  I told him we had just sold out the day before.

JB: Crawford Doyle is clearly The Place to be!  Anything you'd like to add before we wrap this up?

JD: Just a reminder that all of us at Crawford Doyle (as well as at many of our fellow booksellers) consider books about the most precious objects we have in our society. We urge readers to avail themselves fully of the gifts our authors have given us.

JB:  I couldn't agree more. Thanks so much for talking with me, John. You and Judy are terrific examples of people loving what they do and doing what they love. And Crawford Doyle Booksellers is yet another good reason to draw me back to the Big Apple. Can't wait!

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"There is no friend as loyal as a book."  
Ernest Hemingway


All quotes about books from at suggestion of OEN Managing Editor, Meryl Ann Butler 


Crawford Doyle Booksellers website

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure (more...)
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