Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Death of an indie bookstore: Olsson's shutters its doors after 36 years.

A friend and former Random House colleague of mine, Ann Kingman (who now runs the wonderful book blog Books on the Nightstand) sent me this news: The Beltway's oldest indie bookstore, Olsson's Books and Music, has closed it doors.

Olsson's was a beloved fixture in the Washington DC area, a small family-run chain of indie bookstores with a loyal following. When I was a publicist, I loved sending authors to Olsson's. I especially loved sending my Star Wars authors there, because they were treated like royalty, and the event managers there always knew how to put on a great show, with costumed characters and media coverage. Unlike a lot of indie bookstores I'd pitch to, the folks at Olsson's never turned up their collective noses at my genre and movie tie-in authors, and it showed in the wonderful events they produced every time I sent one of my guys down there. They were always professionals and made the authors feel at home; I respected the hell out of them for that.

Anyway, if you have your own fond memories of Olsson's, you can leave a message for them here.


Annalee said...

oh man. As a DC resident, this deeply saddens me.

Minion said...

Strangely enough, I am filled with hope. I think that once the technology evolves to the point where local print-on-demand is possible, the independent bookstore will put the megachains out of business.

But only if the publishers and booksellers pass on the savings to the customer.

katey said...

Man. I used to hit the one in Crystal City monthly. Nothing else like it, that I've found, around here.

Sad day, indeed.

Sex Mahoney for President said...

That's how the free market works. First you drive all the independents out of business, then you consolidate what ever is left over into huge mega stores, and finally the customer gets exactly what we tell them they should want.

Sex Mahoney for President