The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

February 16, 2017
by Dan
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Bookstores Embrace Protest

At the New York Times, Julie Bosman looks at how American bookstores have become hubs of resistance:  Political organizing is perhaps a natural extension of what bookstores have done for centuries: foster discussion, provide access to history and literature, host writers and intellectuals. “All … Continue reading

October 17, 2016
by Dan
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The Neighborhood Bookstore’s Unlikely Ally

The New York Times on the small independent bookstores making the most of social media and online sales: Undoubtedly, the bookselling industry is still digging out of a deep trough. Sales of physical books in physical stores were just $11 … Continue reading

August 18, 2016
by Dan
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Welcome to The Last Bookstore

Welcome to The Last Bookstore is a short, inspiring documentary about Josh Spencer, owner and operator of The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles:

March 28, 2016
by Dan
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On the Media: Print is Back, Back Again

In a special report, WNYC’s On the Media recently took a look at the publishing industry and print books. It covers a lot of ground — including the subversive history of adult colouring books, Amazon’s bricks-and-mortar bookstore, and South Korea’s quest for a … Continue reading

March 22, 2016
by Dan
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Brooklyn’s Most Cluttered Bookstore

The New Yorker visits the Community Bookstore in Brooklyn as owner John Scioli begins to clean out his “cavern of books” in preparation of the store’s closing in May:

February 27, 2016
by Dan
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Why McNally Jackson Books Thrives

The New York Business Journal looks why McNally Jackson is thriving, while other the city’s other independent bookstores are disappearing: most literati agree that independent book stores are an endangered species in high-rent New York. See what’s happening right now … Continue reading

January 25, 2016
by Dan
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Where Pilgrims Arrive in Bewilderment

In a long profile for the Globe and Mail, book review editor Mark Medley visits Nicky Drumbolis owner of the singular Letters Bookshop in Thunder Bay: Walking through the store is an overwhelming experience. Everywhere I look I spot something I’ve never seen before … Continue reading

August 7, 2015
by Dan
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Saying Goodbye to a Secret Bookstore

Also at The New Yorker, Brian Patrick Eha writes about the closure of Brazenhead Books, Michael Seidenberg’s secret New York bookstore: Michael Seidenberg’s one-of-a-kind bookshop, Brazenhead Books, closed last month. For seven years, it operated out of an apartment at … Continue reading

July 31, 2015
by Dan
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A Secret History of Manhattan’s Book Trade

Don’t miss Dwight Garner’s New York Times review of Martial Bliss.: The Story of the Military Bookman, Margaretta Barton Colt’s account of running an antiquarian bookstore in Manhattan that sold only military titles. If you ever worked in an independent bookstore, you’ll probably relate… Historians … Continue reading

June 22, 2015
by Dan
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Available Only in Bookshops

To mark Independent Bookshop Week in the UK, author Helen Dunmore celebrates browsing the shelves: Readers go their own way, and this is what frustrates governments and tantalises publishers. You can drag the reader to the water with the most … Continue reading

June 15, 2015
by Dan
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When a Bookstore Closes, an Argument Ends

Writing at the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik considers the closing of La Hune in Paris, and what is lost when a bookstore closes: The forces that brought La Hune down are, sadly and predictably, the same forces that destroyed Rizzoli, on 57th … Continue reading

March 10, 2015
by Dan
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The Book Thieves of London

At The Dabbler, gentleman bookseller Steerforth recalls his run-ins with book thieves over the years: After a while I became quite good at spotting the biblioklepts. Sometimes they gave themselves away through their body language, other times it was their … Continue reading

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