We were most saddened to read recently of downsizing at St. Mark’s Bookshop. “Is this a nightmare? Pretty much,” writes Harriet of the Poetry Foundation blog. “Vanishing New York” posts this alarming photo.
St. Mark’s was the first bookstore to stock Little Star and has faithfully carried us in a big pile. In recent years it became the eminence grise in the, to this reader, quite unexpected renaissance of independent bookselling in New York City. Let me name names. What a joy that we have Greenlight, McNally Jackson, Book Culture, Spoonbill & Sugartown, Freebird, Bluestockings, Idlewild, and that great wellspring, The Strand. In the Boston area even our tiny selves are stocked by Trident, Harvard Bookstore, Grolier, and Porter Square Books, and elsewhere by the redoubtable Regulator in Durham, Books & Books in Miami, and Powell’s in Portland, Oregon. We all owe so many hours of pleasure, and such broadened reading horizons, to the proprietors of these great institutions. (If you’re a bookstore and would like to join this august company, by all means give a shout.)
For an appreciation of St. Marks’s role in the sustenance of small magazines in particular, sea Pankaj Mishra in The Guardian here.
That St. Mark’s is struggling is bad news for us all. Please buy books from your local bookseller, and order through them when you can. (We ourselves link most of the books mentioned on this site to their online store.)
UPDATE: A petition is now circulating calling on Cooper Union, St. Marks’ landlord, to charge them a liveable rent that will allow them to survive. Please sign here.