Bookstores: 'A Kind of Cultural Anachronism'

Brad Johnson (left)

"As it turns out, one doesn't get a lot of sleep the night before opening a new bookstore. (Even when it's mostly new only in name!) As I paced in the early pre-dawn dark of East Bay Booksellers' first day on September 1st, I had time to reflect on my answer to a journalist's question. She'd asked me why I thought bookstores were important. I forget my entire response, and my head had been spinning such that it may not have been coherent. As I think about it now, though, I return again and again to our place as a kind of cultural anachronism. A place where time itself seems to slow. People linger. Few are ever in much of a rush or put out by a line. We've all made a decision about what we value more than a discount.

"Maybe this is what people really mean when they talk about their love of the smell of a bookstore. The anachronism of ink and pulp amidst the daily sterility of point and click."

--Brad Johnson, owner of East Bay Booksellers (formerly DIESEL) in Oakland, Calif., in an e-mail to friends and patrons
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