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June 14, 2013

Rise of the bookshops

Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett

| By Ann Patchett

Booksellers do not guard their best secrets: they are a generous tribe and were quick to welcome me into their fold and to give me advice. I was told to hang merchandise from the ceiling whenever possible, because people long to buy whatever requires a ladder to cut it down. The children’s section should always be in a back corner of the store, so that when parents inevitably wandered off and started reading, their offspring could be caught before they busted out of the store. I received advice about bookkeeping, bonuses, staff recommendations and websites.

While I was flying from city to city, Karen [Hayes] was driving around the South in a U-haul, buying up shelving at rock-bottom prices from various Borders stores that were liquidating. I had written one check before I left, for a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and I kept asking if she needed more money. No, she didn’t need more money.

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November 22, 2011

Nashvillians Flock to Patchett’s Grand Opening

Filed under: Bookshops — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 4:10 pm

By Shanna Sanders

In an opening celebration this past Saturday, Nashville, Tenn. was introduced to Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore co-owned by best-selling Nashville author Ann Patchett (State of Wonder) and Karen Hayes, a veteran of Random House and Ingram. Nashville has been suffering a dearth of quality, new-title bookstores after losing its two major book outlets, Davis Kidd and Borders. With the shuttering of Borders, and the nearest Barnes & Noble 20 miles out of town, Nashville native Patchett decided to fill the breach with a small, community-centric bookstore, which quickly became one of the most hotly-anticipated bookstore openings of the year.

“I wanted to recreate the kind of bookstore that I went to when I was growing up,” Patchett told PW at the grand opening event. “No fluorescent lights, not a superstore, no escalators. Where the emphasis is on staff instead of square footage.”

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