To possess New York Times bestseller Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores is when you realise what it means to own treasure. It is a beautifully produced book with full-page watercolour illustrations of prominent bookstores around the world. Each painting by illustrator, writer and cartoonist, Bob Eckstein. Every bookstore has a brief history on the opposite page along with a wonderful anecdote recounted by the owners/employees. So in the pages you encounter stories about David Bowie who helped do a book display before buying books for his daughter, Paul McCartney visiting a store late at night, a bookstore that displays books with the cover showing as it stocks autographed copies only, bookstores in barges or vintage van ( Tell a Story) or a bookstore tank ( Weapon of Mass Instruction). Bookstores establised by authors ( Ann Patchett’s Parnassus Books), families ( Eliot Book Bay Company), independent stores ( Giggles ), or the oldest continuously operating bookstore like Moravian Book Shop ( estd. 1732) or chains like Powell’s Books. There must be a second revised edition to this or preferably a website where pictures of bookstores are posted. Let it become a comprehensive catalogue across the world. The more one thinks about it the more one recalls bookstores that have not been included in this fine collection.
It is a keeper. My seven-year-old daughter stroked the book when it arrived in wonderment and asked “Can we keep this ‘laptop-like’ book and not return it to any library?”
Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores: True Tales and Lost Moments from Book Buyers, Booksellers, and Book Lovers Clarkson Potter / Publishers, New York, 2016. Hb. US$22
16 march 2017