03 October 2006

Not All Coliseums Last

For whatever reason, the New York Sun has the rest of the Gotham press corps beat on the Death of Independant Book Stores beat. A couple weeks back, the conservative daily was first with the news that Gotham Book Mart was again in danger (a New York Times story if I ever saw one). Today, it reports that Coliseum Books on 42nd Street has filed for bankrupcy.

Like Gotham Book Mart, Coliseum had a close shave in the early 00's, losing its longtime base off Columbus Circle. And like the Mart, it defied expectations and rose again, phoenix-like, at a new location in 2003.

The shop hasn't closed—yet. But it doesn't look good. Bankruptcy documents filed in the southern district of New York say the store's board of directors will voluntarily seek to "wind-down the company's affairs." The Sun said it couldn't reach owners George Leibson and Irwin Hersch for comment. This is no surprise. Anyone who's ever talked to them knows the duo as among the crankiest booksellers is a city full of cranky booksellers. (Remember this: book stores owners like BOOKS, not people who read books.)

I was never a Coliseum habitue. But I never like to see an indy book store go. New York bereft of idiosyncratic, one-of-a-kind book mongers is just a plain stupid idea.

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