Thursday, August 2, 2012

Partners & Crime Bookshop


We're losing another bookstore. It's an apocalypse.

A reader sends in the news that Partners & Crime, the bookstore dedicated to crime and mystery in Greenwich Village, is shuttering.

In 2010, the New York Times called the shop a "survivor in the shrinking world of independent bookstores." As Michael Wilson wrote, "One of the store’s owners, Maggie Griffin, 53, said the ability to make informed recommendations set Partners & Crime apart from bigger — and admittedly less expensive — chain stores. 'Someone comes in and says, I read a book where a guy dies on a boat in Boston Harbor. I can’t remember the title. Our staff does,' she said."

But two years of Kindle craziness makes a big difference.

"BOOKS without batteries," Credit: Piotr Redlinski for the Times

One of the store's stocked shelves serves as a secret entrance to a back room where the shop hosts monthly performances of "old-time radio plays." Says one Yelp reviewer, "It's like going back in time to 1940's New York City. This store is one of the reasons why I love living in NYC."

This can't happen on a Kindle.

Credit: Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times

The shop's website offers this goodbye:

"After 18 years in the shop on Greenwich Avenue, Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers is closing its doors on September 20th. We've had a great run and have enjoyed helping a generation of readers find the books they love. We've had a lot of fun, learned a tremendous amount, and enjoyed our time with all of you - customers, authors and publishers.

Stop by, reminisce and check out our THANK YOU sale -- and maybe find that favorite title you really can't live without! Couldn't have done it without you!"


Anonymous said...

wow! the 4000sf space that sells mystery and detective books is struggling? what has this world come to?

Alicia said...

I loved this shop. My heart is broken.

Crazy Eddie said...

Soon us book people will be like the roaming gangs in "The Book of Eli”, scrounging though the bleak digital apocalypse landscape, looking for real paper books that will be become rarer and rarer as time goes on.

Anonymous said...

Why, anon. 1:58, is that sarcasm? How ironic. I suppose you'd prefer a pharmacy to take over that 4000 sf of space, where only 400 sq ft is used to be used as an actual pharmacy. Or maybe a 4000 sf for an overpriced coffee shop for trust funders to lounge around. Or maybe 4000 sq ft of bank. Or 4000 sq ft of overpriced used clothing, like Buffalo Exchange. That's what this world has come to.

Grand St. said...

Poor Greenwich Ave. No bookstore. No video shop. No movie theater.

Just eat your meatballs and then work 'em off in a giant Equinox. Perfect for the crowd soon inhabiting the Rudin condos where once St. Vincent's stood.

Anonymous said...

What a disappointment. When I got into British crime novels in my late teens, I would walk from my East Village home to this inviting space in the West Village, sometimes after a visit to the JM garden first. Since then this space is/has been so cozy and inviting, and aesthetically appropriate to it's specification of genre. A few steps downstairs, into the large bookshop with well displayed and arranged books. And then the discovery began; speak to the assistants, or find books on your own, a few books from the sales bin as well, and a good time spent on a soul-satisfying solo missions. I lament this closing. I am nostalgic about some things, and this certainly hits me harder then other closings around our little island home of Manhattan. Sigh. It's changing, and some new things are not 'bad' but I sure hate the speed at which we are loosing classic spots that I've enjoyed all of my life. C'est la vie, and poop. Here comes another coffee shop or bank or Walgreens. Voila. Next, the apothecary?!

Ms. said...


Barbara L. Hanson said...

Oh, crap. Love this store. Never walked out without a purchase.

James C. Taylor said...

I'm consistently astonished how little other people care about this stuff. Most people I speak to see no difference between reading a book or reading on a device. A colleague of mine recently told me she reads all her "books" on her phone.

I suppose we should be thankful that all those Kindle customers actually still READ.

Marty Wombacher said...

This brings back sad memories of this.

TyN said...

Has anyone read Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart? It takes place in the future where everything is digital and overshared, and follows the story of a man who everyone finds astonishing because he still owns physical books.

Lee said...

You know that feeling you get when you walk into your favorite bookstore? Step off a Manhattan street, down a few steps, open the door. That wonderful smell. The absolute calm yet excitement you feel upon entering. The greetings you receive and return? The worlds your mind steps into?
Imagine a world without a single bookstore...anywhere.

Little Earthquake said...

Why pay $27.95 for a new book anywhere when you can get it for free at the public library?

MagWildwood said...

I am SICK about this! I was just there the other day and didn't see any sign about it. An announcement on another site had a statement within a sentence from the owners that Jeremiah did not mention:

With our great appreciation to all and a special thank you to our landlord, who has been a prince!

Jeremiah, do you know what the owners meant about the landlord? Obviously I would assume he gouged them out. But am not sure. Can you find out? Or does anyeone else know. The site I found this on is

This store was the epitome of a mystery bookstore. Of course I feel that way about any mystery bookstore. But anyway. I am just sick this place is closing. It was wonderful.

Jeremiah Moss said...

they say their landlord is wonderful, and it's more about decreased business. thanks to e-readers.

every time you buy a book on Kindle, you put another nail in the coffin of our bookstores.

Joe Blow said...

"Why pay $27.95 for a new book anywhere when you can get it for free at the public library?"

indeed.. I have a pile of books from when I used to purchase them. no more room!

so I browse online at NYPL and select books to be on hold.. then I take back the ones I've read and pick up the new ones they have put on the shelf for me. great system.

but, and too, also, my girlfried loves nooks and we share an account so when she purchases bios of Mao and Johnson, or the Johnston Flood, I get to read them on mine too.

Anonymous said...

Why pay $15 for a movie or an album, download or CD, when one can borrow them at a library or watch or listen to them at network tv or radio?

People want to have their own tangible of a book, movie, music, whatever media, for those times that they just want to read a particular passage, if not the whole novel, listen to a piece, watch a scene, at the tip of their fingertips, maybe during late at night, in a middle of conversation, etc. And I still like using my tactile senses when browsing for books or media.

Ereaders are good for textbooks or off files; but ink and paper are beat technology for artwork, which at times, people buy a book or an album also for its cover.

Physical media serve more as a convenience. Books, records, cds, can be handed down from one generation to another. e-books or digital music, however will only remain as long as Amazon or Apple distribute its e-readers, reader, itunes, software and keep its copy-protection servers running. E-books or itunes, are for the selfish, hardly shared,, only serve the individual, the 'me'.

Anonymous said...

Last time I was there, the fellow at the desk was too busy chatting up two European teenagers who were looking for Harry Potter (no kidding!). He then grudgingly answered my question about an out of print mystery, which they did not have (he checked in the system) but there was something else that was in their records. Unfortunately, he did not know where it was located.

The mystery of this store's demise is no mystery based on that story, which I am sure is not representative, but in the many times I've been there, it never gave me a good feeling.

Elizabeth said...

I went to Partners & Crime's closing party/wake and attempted to write my eulogy for the store. Read it on my blog

laura said...

a great place to get books 1/2 price brand new is strand. (publishers copies). also slightly used for less. you call them one week in advance, they search for the books on the computer, hold them for 7 days. you are allowed 3 searches per day. i dont know if they still do this, but i used this system for years. i would go to the store & eliminate a few & buy the rest. keep the wonderful ones for ever as i re read them. the o.k. ones went back to strand, & i made back a few $$s. i do alot of reading on the internet. but nothing beats print. if you are on computer too much you lose the ability to focus on a book.