Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Stacey's Bookstore, the oldest and best independent bookstore in San Francisco, will be closing its doors forever in March.

Stacey's Bookstore, the oldest continually-operating bookstore in San Francisco, will be closing its doors in March after 85 years of serving San Francisco book buyers.

To say that I was stunned by this news would be the understatement of the year. Stacey's Bookstore was a part of my maturation as a bookseller and book industry professional. I worked there for years, first at the Stacey's computer book annex on the Embarcadero as a bookseller, and later - when that location closed - around the corner at the flagship store on Market Street, moving into various roles as bookseller, floor manager, inventory geek and eventually the marketing and events manager. Founded in 1923, it was (and still is, for now!) an amazing bookstore, focused primarily on business and computer books, 27,000 square feet of glorious book-nerdom, lovingly maintained by a staff of some of the most knowledgable and passionate booksellers one could ever hope to meet or have the pleasure to work with.

My friend and former manager at the Stacey's annex, Brad Craft (who is now the used book buyer at U. Books in Seattle) just posted a lovely tribute to Stacey's on his blog; the San Francisco Chronicle has more on the closing here. And here's a slice of history: a profile of Stacey's on its 75th anniversary from a 1998 feature by former San Francisco Chronicle Book Review Editor Pat Holt, in her column Holt Uncensored. (Scroll down to #4.)

I'll have more to say on this later. Right now I'm still in shock; frankly, all I want to do is find a quiet corner and have a good cry.

Edit to add: Ed Champion has a nice post about Stacey's closing, and SFist has a great comments thread going on.


Jim Lamb said...

I have the same sense of loss everytime I get back to the small New Hampshire town that I had the honour of growing up in. Buildings that had been there for well over 100 years, small family owned businesses that had been operating since before WW1, parks and forests, even some of the smaller graveyards, they have all been wiped out for supposed progress.

Nothing will ever replace the welcoming feeling, or even the crisp scents, of a small private book store. But as with all endangered species, so few are left for us to enjoy.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

that sux! :( I'm sorry.

ryan field said...

We still have one left here in New Hope called Farley's.

Sabina E. said...

Yeah, so many other bookshops are closing down, too.

We're losing a huge vital part of American culture. I blame it on Amazon, Ebay, and Barnes&Noble.

What's next? comic book shops closing down, too? Oh that's already happening, so never mind.

PJD said...

First Cody's, now this. I've only been to Stacy's (the Market St. one) about a dozen times, but I love it inside and will be sad to see it go.

Blaming Amazon for this change, though, is akin to blaming IBM and Apple for killing off the typewriter market with easy word processing and cheap desktop printing (never mind that IBM was the typewriter market... I'm making a point here, so don't bother me with details).

L.C. Gant said...

That really is a tragedy. Whenever a local treasure like Stacey's closes down, we lose more than just the rich history that came with it; we lose a piece of the American Dream.

Small businesses are the backbone of this country, including independent bookstores. They represent the sense of corporate competition that makes our country great. Ah, well...Stacey's will be missed.

Jeanine B. said...

In shock here as well. I was sent the lin to the story this morning by a former Stacy's cohort. As a bookseller it was a privelege to work there. To be surrounded by the knowledge seeking and the knowledgeable, the passionate readers and yes, even the passionate shoplifters. What a grounding place it is. My son was "wombed" there, and ultimately cut his first tooth on "Pat the bunny from its shelves." I had hoped he could walk in there for a part time job once he started SFSU next fall.
I made wonderful friends there and we lost some wonderful people. They were a part of a wonderful family and I loved every day of it. From dodging flying books during the Loma Prieta quake, to mistaking Gene Hackman for my husband.(Okay,some days were stranger than others!) RIP Stacey's, RIP.

usedbuyer said...

Thank you, Colleen, for memoralizing the store we both loved.