Thursday, January 11, 2007
Of my checklist for a decent poetry section in a bookstore, Beth Kanell writes, “we fit the four criteria here at Kingdom Books.” Beth goes on to offer proof as well, two photos of the “poetry room” which you see above, chapbooks displayed with their covers facing out, books lovingly placed in what I take to be clear mylar envelopes.¹ I’ve heard of Kingdom Books before, and even mentioned it here last June when the store co-sponsored a celebration of the work of Joe Brainard. In addition to poetry, mystery and fine press editions, Beth and her husband Dave – he’s the expert on the mystery side of the shop – offer a weblog that pretty much covers anything of literary interest in the upper reaches of
And upper reaches it is.
We are ALWAYS OPEN from 10 to 6
on the second Monday of each month:
Please call for appointments on other days
Beth is both a writer & professional copy-editor while David is a retired college administrator. And the kids are all grown. In short, Kingdom thrives because the Kanells have defined thriving to meet their own needs – this is not an operation calculated to put vast sums in the pockets of some conglomerate. One full-time employee would probably drive it right into bankruptcy. This is especially true since Kingdom seems not very aggressive about selling books over the web (I can see, for example, that I have five books currently on the shelves at St. Marks), tho, if you go through ABEbooks, you can browse the stock.
In short, Kingdom Books thrives for the same reasons that Woodland Pattern, Grolier’s or Open Books do as well – the intense commitment of a few knowledgeable, passionate people. This may not be a formula for getting rich, but it does seem to work for poetry. And you have to admit,
¹ Plastic has the wrong Ph balance and actually hastens the oxidation process of paper.