Monday, April 6, 2009

CO-BLOGGER ALERT!: Bobby Arellano writes New Jersey!!!

A cold rain in Jersey couldn't keep 25 people from coming to Raconteur Books in Metuchen for our stop on the Akashic "Cubanization" tour. Achy was un poquito enferma, but I read from my novel Havana Lunar and answered questions while Raconteur co-owner Alex Dawson poured the wine and played Beny Moré on the house stereo.

I have been talking with Achy, who as readers of this blog know has
touched down in half the eastern states over the past eight weeks, about why some good independent bookstores seem to be thriving despite the shrinking economy. Dawson has a theory about their staying power. Identifying Raconteur as a "thrift" enterprise that sells used as well as new books, he says that people who a few months ago might have just walked by the funky display in his front window are now being drawn in by the prospect of saving 25% or more off big-chain book prices. This new business, together with a devoted local clientele who credit the owners with prompting a cultural revival in this medium-sized suburb (more than one patron told me, "Alex is doing great things in this town"), makes Raconteur confident about the prospect of continuing to sell books while growing new programs -- a journal called the Raconteur Reader, a music/circus/literary festival at a 200-seat theater three blocks from the shop, and an annual beard-growing contest in honor of George Bernard Shaw.

Thanks, Raconteur! Achy, Akashic, and I all hope to be invited back!

No comments:

Post a Comment