March 2009 | Michael Lieberman

Mixing the New with Old : 21 New(er) Books We Like

Display table at Wessel & Lieberman that holds many of the 21 New(er) Books We Like

For those who follow Book Patrol you've heard this song before. For a bookshop to survive in today's rapidly changing landscape one must take a more integrated, holistic approach to bookselling. The days of being able to survive selling just new books, or to a lesser extent used books, are just about up. The current seismic tremors in the publishing world coupled with the new and emerging modes of content delivery just might be the straw that breaks the traditional bookstore's back.
Here in Seattle, in addition to being a destination for collectors and bibliophiles, we are known for being one of the only bookshops that deals with and cherishes books without ISBN numbers.

Yet, we have also always sold new books; offering a curated and highly filtered selection of recently published books in our areas of interest.

Last winter in our print catalog of antiquarian and collectible books we added, for the first time, an insert titled 21 New(er) Books We Like and have since added a page to our website dedicated to these in-print gems. We will also begin announcing on Twitter when a new book has been added.

Screenshot of 21 New(er) Books We Like at

One can only wonder what the bookshop of the future might be like. Will it become more like a museum or will it evolve into a vibrant book center serving all the book needs of a community?

I can envision a time, in the not too distant future, where we will provide our customers with the first edition of a book they covet along with the opportunity for them to download a digital version for their e-reading device as well as offering them a branded edition printed on demand (or more precisely made to order) and bound, in a binding of their choice, by a book artist or bookbinder. It will be a place were quality still matters and the book will always be welcome.