Dr Eben J. Muse is a Reader in Bookselling at the School of Arts, Culture(s) and Language at Bangor University. He has been Co-Director of Stephen Colclough Centre for the History and Culture of the Book since 2016. He was raised in a bookstore in Massachusetts which he now owns, and he conducts research into the business and culture of bookstores. He is currently editing the Books & Bookselling strand of the Cambridge Elements Series Publishing and Book Culture and co-director of the Bookselling Research Network.
Dr Simon Frost, Principal Academic in English at Bournemouth University and author of Reading, Wanting, and Broken Economics: A Twenty-First-Century Study of Readers and Bookshops in Southampton around 1900 (SUNY Press, 2021) part of SUNY, speaks with Dr Eben Muse (the Stephen Colclough Centre for the History and Culture of the Book) about the cultural and economic place of bookstores, the shifting relationship between economics and literature, and books as material, commodified, and contested objects of economic exchange.
Machynlleth, an ancient market town in Mid-Wales, supports 4 bookshops: Dyfi Valley Bookshop (used and antiquarian books), Coch-y-Bonddu Books (angling, game shooting, sporting dogs and falconry), the newly opened Literary Cat Books, and Pen’rallt Gallery Bookshop — opened by Diane Bailey and Geoff Young ten years ago, not “so that we can make a lot of money” but “because books are important.” These independent booksellers specialize in “books that we are happy to have on the shelves, books that mean something to us” especially photography, politics, Welsh writers (in Welsh or English) and interesting fiction. The shop is just a few doors from the MOMA Machynlleth art gallery with which they have close links, and they write a regular photography feature for the O’r Pedwar Gwynt literary newspaper. I spoke with them shortly after they had re-opened for browsing.
Anne Brichto and Derek Addyman opened Addyman Books in 1986, Murder and Mayhem in 1997, and in 2003 the Addyman Annex. All three stores are within walking distance of each other in the book town of Hay-on-Wye. The stores specialize in collectable and antiquarian detective fiction, science fiction, classic paperbacks, modern First editions, children’s books, as well as fiction and poetry. In addition to the three shops, Addyman Books sells regularly online, and Anne has maintained a popular #Bookstagram blog for several years. Anne lives upstairs in the original Addyman Books building. She spoke to me in May about the impact of the pandemic on their bookstores.
Lección Inaugural de la Maestría en Estudios Editoriales (tercera cohorte)
A cargo de: Jean Yves Mollier Doctor en Literatura Francesa y en Letras y Ciencias Humanas por la Universidad de París I Doctor Honoris Causa por la Universidad de Lausana Profesor emérito de la Universidad de Versalles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines
La Maestría en Estudios Editoriales del Instituto Caro y Cuervo se complace en invitar a la Lección inaugural de su tercera cohorte (2020-2022), que estará a cargo del profesor Jean-Yves Mollier (Roanne, 1947), uno de los más destacados investigadores de la historia del libro y la edición contemporánea. Autor de libros como Michel et Calmann Lévy ou la naissance de l’édition moderne (1836-1891) (1984), L’Argent et les Lettres. Histoire du capitalisme d‘édition. 1880-1920 (1989), Louis Hachette (1800-1864). Le fondateur d‘un empire (1999), La lecture et ses publics à l’époque contemporaine. Essais d‘histoire culturelle (2001), traducido al español en 2013, o Edition, presse et pouvoir en France au XXe siècle (2008), el profesor Mollier ha sido también un notable dinamizador del campo de los estudios editoriales en su más amplia acepción, aportando al estudio histórico de las revistas, la cultura mediática, las colecciones editoriales, y el comercio de librería. En torno a este último tema, fue responsable de la compilación Le Commerce de la librairie en France au XIXe siècle. 1789-1914 (1997) y actualmente tiene en prensa una Histoire de la librairie, obra que promete ser el primer gran panorama histórico sobre las librerías y sus innumerables mutaciones espaciales y temporales.
It is now 90 days since lockdown began in Wales, and I am still wishing I had stopped at my local bookstore on my way home the day before it happened.
This exile from the space of the bookstore has developed my appreciation for the experience offered by that counter-space where commerce and culture agree a tenuous pact of co-existence. This balancing act happens within an identifiable physical location, within borders defined by the walls of the room, the limits of the market stall, or the edges of the book table. Within that defined space, that cultural / commercial balance creates a meaningful location, a normalcy specific to that space–a type of commercial and a cultural identity that may not exist beyond its bounds. Such meaningful locations exist in more than just bookstores, of course. Churches, hospitals, ancient monuments, the local garden centre, the town recycling centre–all of these spaces define a normalcy that dissipates as one moves away from them.