Tuesday, June 17, 2008

groaning the blues

yesterday's reading of chapter twelve from ulysses was a treat. so as I was walking to the bookstore from the 25th street rapid station I felt a bit like leopold bloom myself - head filled with random thoughts, walking around my city, encountering characters along the way and stopping for a chat or two.

after the reading I started making my way back to the rta, my cell rang, it was e wondering where I was. I told her my coordinates - w.14th and kenilworth. turns out she was a minute away. she proposed picking me up and having a drink and a bite on our way home. never one to pass up such an invite, e and I were soon on our way to bar centro, one of her favorite spots. bar centro is on w. 25th street close to a few of my favorite haunts. we parked in front of michael's bookshop, the door was open, we stepped in to say hi to michael and luna the cat. I asked michael how he was doing, his response floored me as he informed me a financial miracle (eg partner with deep pockets, winning lottery ticket, etc.) hasn't happened and so the bookstore will be closing on june 30th.

later michael sent me the following:
kim, here's the dope:

the bookstore on west 25th (ne: six steps down bookstore) will close on june 30th.

this week until the 6 pm saturday, the 21st, will be the last day for buying from our full stock.

sunday the 22nd, will be an auction to dealers interested in whole sections of books.

all left will be subject to a progressive discount (starting at 25%off down to free after 6 pm on the last day) from june 23rd to june 30th.

purchases will have to be removed by closing june 30th.

call or email for more information.

mike o'brien
six steps down bookstore
1921 west 25th street
cleveland, ohio 44113

[half a block north of the west side market]

216 566 8897 store, noon to 6

any and all booklovers reading this - if you are in cleveland, stop by michael's bookshop. bring some tote bags - buy some books and help clear out the inventory. I guarantee you'll find something you didn't know you needed or wanted! and before you leave the store, make sure you thank michael for all the years of serving the community as a booklover's treasure trove and gathering spot. even if you don't know him, thank him anyway.....

so, I'm still sad this morning, perhaps this will help.

eric clapton performing otis rush classic blues piece groaning the blues

photo: luna sleeping; bumpersticker. cleveland, june 2008


d. chedwick said...

Every time a bookstore like this one closes, I feel a deep sadness. The big chains can't compare to a place like Michael's. I remember how we used to make special trips to visit the few quirky independent bookshops( in a 60 mile radius.) many have gone out of business. In The five boroughs, tiny bookshops where here and there, and they were a delight to visit. There were a few within walking distance, then one day the sign on the door. Closed permanently. That's hard.

Steve said...

Did you see the cover of The New Yorker a few weeks ago? It showed a man unlocking the door of a book store and a woman next door getting a package from the UPS man -- and the package was from Amazon. She looked uncomfortably at the man unlocking the bookstore door.

It's sad that small, independent bookstores are going belly-up like this. And yet it's often hard to support them, because, let's face it, in the rush of daily life it's hard to resist ordering from Amazon.

Barbara said...

It's a rough go for small independent booksellers. They just can't compete with the big guys. What a shame!

I'm as guilty as anyone for buying used books on Amazon.

d. chedwick said...

off subject but--
Gas just went up another nickel here today! I didn't get a picture of the sign though. ($4.50) and then I drove by a station advertising gas at $3.27!! But when I turned to get a good look it was obvious the station had been closed for at least a year. I didn't have my camera with me ...

tut-tut said...

Steve, there was also a New Yorker cartoon years ago, showing an independent bookstore owner, and someone saying to him, "There is a Mr. Barnes and a Mr. Noble here to see you" . . .

I'm sure I'm paraphrasing somewhat, but that was the gist.

Oddly, here we have a bookstore in my little town, plus two independents downtown. The one downtown gets many authors to come by for signings and talks. So there's that, at least.

lettuce said...

thats so sad - independent bookshops are becoming rather rarer over here too

i like buying books in charity shops - but i guess that doesn't help the independents either

dennis said...

Dennis thinks that's a good looking cat--Luna is a girlcat, right?

Anonymous said...

so thankful you showed us this place on our visit. a true gem. sigh. xom

Squirrel said...

I hardly ever buy books from Amazon, but I do get gift certs from them at xmas, and usually go for dvds.

We have two decent used bookshops within walking distance, but when we first moved here, there were 4!
My favorite was the one just 4 blocks away, run by a crazy very cranky old lady (who liked me) with lots of cats lounging around the place. If she didn't like your vibe or aura, , she wouldn't sell anything to you, so I was lucky I had a decent vibe/aura. I saw her order a lot of people out of the shop or simply refuse to ring up the books they wanted. She would also raise the price at the last minute if she felt like it. It was so worth it to shop there! miss her.

Lee's River said...

ach, a heartbreaker. And what becomes of Michael, I wonder?

Think of me when you pick up some books from him. Say a woman in France sends her regards.

Ernest de Cugnac said...

I didn't know it until years later, but I'm sure that Joyce and Ulysses shaped JP Donleavy's writing style (Ginger Man, A Singular Man etc). These captivated me when I was in my 20s and 30s.

Loved the sign! How could you not smile (and thus reveal your shocking secret)?

mouse (aka kimy) said...

it is sad when small independent bookstores close, but fortunately some do survive - they generally have some extra service they offer. I'll be posting soon about the bookstore in tremont that hosted the james joyce event. it's relatively new and looks as if it may thrive, of course, we will see in time.

steve - have to find that issue. must have come when I was away, but we get the new yorker now (thanks reya) so it's around here somewhere!

barbara - some can compete, but with a twist!

ched - I had that same experience with a closed gas station! it was actually when I pulled off coming home from visiting you @ che u in friendship. I'm sure I snapped a picture, but just to find it!

tut - excellent to hear there are some indies alive and well where you are!

let - all part of the homogenization and corporatization of the world, eh? but it's good to buy books in charity shops!! you definitely get eco-points for that!!

dennis - she is a sweetie!! of course living in a bookstore her entire life would help with that, I expect.

intact - wish u were here saturday for the last real day - well there is next week, but expect the good stuff may be gone....I left the other day with some excellent children's books.

squirrel - love the story of the catlady bookshop owner!! 4 bookshops in walking distance would be very dangerous for me, I try to stick to libraries as I have a 'book problem'

lee - thanks will do! michael is looking for a job, alas. not easy to find in this day and age but he has many talents and much to offer!

ernie, do you mind if I call you ernie? need to re-read donleavy, been quite a while.... smile on!!

TheElementary said...

I'm sorry to hear this. I believe this is the one you mentioned months ago? I was hoping for a better outcome. It's very sad. I wish him luck in his next venture. So sad. If I were any closer I'd rush in and buy up books myself :(

Coffee Messiah said...

There are a couple in Ft Wayne hanging in there and one "Hyde Bros" is the best in indy-anna. Although a short while back, the Brothers split and each has their own store. The smallest store though, does most of their sales on-line. Seems to be the way of the world for "interactions" such as they are.

There were so many used book stores in Sf I see the ones that I went to while there are still in business, except for one.

Ms. Wollstonecraft said...

You inspired me to post a pic of a used book I bought.

Ms. Wollstonecraft said...

I knew a used bookstore owner --he kept the shop open for his departed father who started the shop and loved it so much. But it was a losing business in many ways, it kept him working long hours and always searching for stock and watching college students steal his books (college town) although he was a sweet hippie zen guy himself the kids still swiped books... and his wife had to support the family with some mind numbing job. Yet they loved that shop to bits. I wonder if it still exists.