Readersforum's Blog

November 30, 2012

Writer Ann Patchett’s bookstore thrives in digital age

By Bob Minzesheimer

When novelist Ann Patchett opened a bookstore here in her hometown a year ago, she wondered if she was “opening an ice shop in the age of Frigidaire.”

One year later, Parnassus Books is thriving in an age of e-books when ordering and reading is a click away and browsing takes on a new digital meaning.

As the store celebrates its first anniversary this month, Patchett says, “People might not use ice to refrigerate anymore, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still want some ice in their scotch and in their tea. There is still a real place for ice. And when the power is out, we are mighty grateful for a bag of the stuff.”

Parnassus doesn’t sell ice. It does sell books, $2 million worth in the past year. Most were the old-fashioned kind, paper and ink.

Ask Patchett, 48, if she’s bucking a trend, and she defiantly says, “We are the trend.”

Until early last year, she had been busy enough just writing novels. Six in all, including her 1992 debut, The Patron Saint of Liars, set at a home for unwed mothers, and Bel Canto starring an American opera singer held hostage by Latin American terrorists, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2001.

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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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