Saturday, November 19, 2011

Parnassus Books Opens in Nashville

In keeping with my ever-continuing fixation with indie bookstores, here's a post about another one that just opened in Nashville, Tenn.

Parnassus Books already has a website (just click on that link right back there, okay?). And it has a Facebook page. Which I've liked, BTW. Nice going, guys. But I don't see nothing about a blog. What up with that, huh?

Oh, look, here's a New York Times article about the store. Awesome.

And it says:

After a beloved local bookstore closed here last December and another store was lost to the Borders bankruptcy, this city once known as the Athens of the South, ...

rich in cultural tradition and home to Vanderbilt University, ...

became nearly barren of bookstores.

A collective panic set in among Nashville’s reading faithful. But they have found a savior in Ann Patchett, the best-selling novelist who grew up here. On Wednesday, Ms. Patchett, the acclaimed author of “Bel Canto” and “Truth and Beauty,” will open Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore that is the product of six months of breakneck planning and a healthy infusion of cash from its owner.

“I have no interest in retail; I have no interest in opening a bookstore,” Ms. Patchett said, serenely sipping tea during a recent interview at her spacious pink brick house here. “But I also have no interest in living in a city without a bookstore.”

Awesome. Congratulations, Ms. Patchett. For someone with no interest in retail or opening a bookstore, you've taken on quite a commitment. And based on reading the article, you've put a whole sh*tload of work into this.

Plus that must be a quite a "healthy infusion of cash" you've got on hand, but it won't last forever if you spend your time in your pink brick house sipping tea serenely. Consider the example of St. Mark's Bookshop cited within the New York Times article. Getting a rent break is nice, but it won't solve the problem in the long run, will it?

May I make a friendly suggestion? Start a blog to market your bookstore. And try not to take yourself too seriously, okay? :)

As a gimpy self-published author, that's been my approach and it seems to have worked.

Finally, I strongly suggest you take a look at this post and think about it. Because while I agree that it's important for bookstores to serve unique community interests, if you're going to compete with a giant online retailer, you should get your online act together, am I right?

Josh Anderson for The New York Times

Ahh ... that's where you belong. Standing proud in your store. Be a retailer, Ms. Patchett. You can do it. Booksellers are awesome. Go for it!

PS: Did you know that Vanderbilt is one of the world's most expensive universities? I didn't until now. Yikes!

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