Saturday, March 28, 2009

It was Just a Few Posts Ago that I Mentioned our Visit to Salt Lake City, but There has Been News Since Then

Milwaukee is not the only city that is losing a beloved bookstore. Sam Weller's of Salt Lake City is closing their huge downtown book emporium, hoping to replace it with a new smaller location. The catch--they don't have one yet. Here's the article in the Deseret News.

Jason (working with me at Boswell Book Company), Lanora (proprietor of Next Chapter Bookshop in Mequon) and I were just in SLC for the American Bookseller Association's Winter Institute and each spent at least an hour exploring the 40,000 square feet on three levels. Jason came back and said their rare book room was spectacular.

I got to speak with Sam Weller at a bookseller reception hosted by his son Tony and his wife Catherine. I seemed to recall he knew Harry, but I wasn't sure so I asked. "Everybody knew Harry Schwartz," was his reply. It gave me butterflies (in the stomach, that is).

Sadly we didn't hear about the Tony and Catherine's decision until after we'd left. I loved the idea of 500 booksellers scouting the town for a good location. They'd like to stay downtown, but it's hard to guess what future traffic patterns will be, since much of downtown is under construction for a massive urban renewal project--most of downtown land is owned by the LDS church. I have much confidence that Tony and Catherine (I don't know them well, but spent enough time with them years ago at a bookseller convention to feel like I can dispense with formality) will find the perfect space, but like Schwartz, it's still a bittersweet moment.

If you're in the city before they close, definitely go out of your way for a visit. You'll definitely walk out with some interesting finds, and the booksellers were super helpful. Oh, and don't forget to stop by our friends at the King's English, situated closer to the University of Utah Campus.
Here's a picture of Boswell's Jason with Kingster Jenn Northington, who gave us a great idea of how to reposition our teen books. We even stole their name for the section, with a twist.

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