Almost 28,000 people have signed the petition to save St. Mark's Bookstore. Cooper Union is still deliberating on whether to lower the shop's rent or let the market forces crush this landmark. Many commenters have said (some rather snarkily), "If everyone who signed the petition bought just one book, they could save the shop." Feeling guilty about spending more time reading blogs than books? Good!
Jen Doll at Runnin Scared agrees. She notes that if all the petition signers "bought a book...in September, the shop would make approximately $405,000. More than enough for to pay the month's rent... But that doesn't happen, not even in the heady days when everyone loved paper."
But it CAN happen. Let's all buy one book from St. Mark's this weekend. Consider it a campaign of unbridled optimism. (And please pass this post on to all your Facebook friends, blog readers, tweeters, etc. The Internet is killing bookstores, might as well use it to try and save one.)
You don't even have to go into the shop--you can sit on your ass and buy it online. It's as easy as Amazon! (If you're one of those Kindle people, you can even buy an evil ebook, if you absolutely insist...the money is going to a good place, so you get a pass. This time.)
St. Mark's Books window
To make your browsing even easier, here are some personal recommendations. Just click the links and go. (Mention "Vanishing New York" when you make your purchase and you might get a free St. Mark's bookmark made of fine artisanal paper hewn from actual trees):
The Art of Fielding is getting rave reviews everywhere. Not New Yorky but definitely on my to-read list.
Tango is a new memoir by downtown performer Justin Vivian Bond. Bond recently got evicted thanks to the demolition of Mars Bar, so buying Tango means you're supporting two East Village "institutions."
I just finished reading By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham and enjoyed the writing very much--it's about a fussy New York art dealer who gets the hots for his wife's little brother.
I also just read Ten Thousand Saints--a great snapshot of New York and the hardcore scene of the 1980s.
Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad is most excellent--more New York, more music, more dystopian technology.
Store Front is the must-have collection of vanishing New York photos by James and Karla Murray.
The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of New York is by one of our blogger pals, Bryan Waterman. Check it out for a rich analysis of city lit.
Miss the sleazy Times Square? The Last of the Live Nude Girls promises to bring it all back in sticky detail.
And who doesn't love Fran Lebowitz?
How about anything by Arthur Nersesian?
If you are in town and you do go into the store, they've got a great remainders table where you can stock up on some excellent titles for cheap.
Tell us what you bought! And finally, remember what John Waters says about anti-bookists: "Don't fuck 'em!"
At the Strand