Give Me My Indie Back

Last night I read an NY Times article by Julie Bosman about an independent Princeton bookstore that has to close down after being in business for 26 years. It is a nice example of how the big chains are ousting the little ones. Both Ms. Bosman and the bookstore’s owner, Logan Fox, son of the supposedly quite well-known Joe Fox, see the reason in…

[…] the quickening pace of people’s lives, in the shrinking willingness to linger. During the 1980s, in the store’s early days, customers would come in and stay all afternoon, carefully inspecting the books that were packed tightly together, spine to spine.

The store in Princeton, nearby the Ivy League univerity, to which Mr. Fox sold it to, is called "Micawber Books." Ms. Bosman points out that this name is taken from Charles Dickens’s novel David Copperfield. The fact that she has to explain the name’s origin supports both their claims that people do not read a lot anymore.

I am glad that I live in a city where most bookstores are still independent. It would be utterly devastating if "my" bookstore had to go out of business. I do not even want to think about it.

[In case the link to the article takes you to a login window it means that it is not available for free anymore. If you still would like to read it, though, and do not have an account just drop me a line in the comments and I will send you a PDF version.]


Introducing a new feature to this weblog: Since I try to post every day I want to share my New Yorker Cartoon Calender with you because some of you might not have their own. All New Yorker cartoons are copyrighted but 99.9% of them are available on-line through So I will just put a link to the daily cartoon at the end of one of my daily posts. Today, there will be five cartoons because I have to catch up. Have fun, and do not wreck your brains over those you do not understand. I sympathize with you.

The Day Before the Day Before the Day Before Yesterday (January 1. Duh!!)

The Day Before the Day Before Yesterday (January 2)

The Day Before Yesterday (January 3)

Yesterday (January 4)

Today (January 5) [This one really made me crack up.]


One thought on “Give Me My Indie Back

  1. I mourn Micawber’s! I was a grad student at Princeton, ’89-’94, and I was one of those who would linger there all afternoon (instead of doing research in the library, usually). Those were the days when lit crit and theory were the rage and every new book had to be sized up.

    The local bookstore in New Haven, Book Haven, also folded some years ago. Missed, but it never had the sheer stacked capacity of Micawber’s — at least not when I first encountered it, but then it was dwindling over the years like a sick tree. Alas, even Mic’s, the last time I was back, seemed to have lost much of its aura. And the Princeton Bookstore was cut way back. Pretty bad when people in an Ivy League Univ town don’t care about books!

    Book Haven got replaced by Labyrinth — which also exists in New York but isn’t a big chain. It’s better than Book Haven was at the end, actually drawing me in a bit the way Micawber’s did. But maybe it’s me too. I’m not drawn to books like I used to be, probably because of my jaded view that nothing I’m likely to read is going to make any difference.

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