January 2010 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Things Fall Apart; or, Earthquake Update

Last Saturday, an earthquake hit Eureka, California, home to two independent booksellers. Eureka Books, co-owned by Scott Brown, former editor of Fine Books & Collections, is faring well after the 6.5 magnitude quake. On Sunday, they updated their Facebook status with the following report: "Everything is back to normal at Eureka Books, and we even have an earthquake display in our window, as an offering to the earthquake gods. Booklegger down the street was closed today for cleanup but will be back in business tomorrow."


Pictured above is the interior of Eureka Books after last week's quake, photo by Amy Stewart. This picture was tweeted with the following caption: "The bookcases that were not bolted to the wall came down at the store--fortunately not many." More photos by Stewart are posted on Mashable.

Social media (as you call tell from all the links) played a significant role in disseminating images of the quake quickly. Scott Brown also points out, "It's funny in this digital age that bookstores are the iconic images of this quake." The LA Times and the San Francisco Chronicle both featured bookshops in their coverage of the earthquake, and the local TV station ran a piece focusing on Booklegger.

Why the focus on books? A bibliophile's answer: books are the pillars of civilization, when they fall down, we take notice.