A Small Damages Reading, An Embrace of Chester County Book and Music Company

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I was shocked and of course deeply saddened when I learned last week that Chester County Book and Music Company—the grand lady of independents in my part of the world, a vast store, encyclopedic in scope, and intimate in nature—was now occupying its West Chester store on a month-to-month basis.  It will remain active, we are told, at least through the fall.  But the future beyond that is cloudy, unsure.  And we readers and writers are devastated.

Chester County is where it always happened.  It's where the big-name authors came, the celebrities, the locals, the book clubs, the university students from down the road, the mothers on an afternoon out.  It's where the staff, many of them long-timers, read passionately and recommended enthusiastically—in person and by way of placards all around the store.  A.S. King was there on a rainy night, and we gathered around.  K.M. Walton threw her launch party there and hundreds, I mean hundreds, rallied.  Kate Moses and I once sat in the near dark on a very rainy night and met the likes of Kathye Fetsko Petrie.  I met Ilene Wong, thanks to CCBM.  I met a band of students from West Chester University, saw again old teachers and city friends.

What will we do without our store?  How many nights did I come home with a bag of books that I had bought strictly and solely on staff recommendations (and they were almost always right)?  How many books in this book-crowded house of mine first lived at CCBM?

And what can we say to thank those who made CCBM what it is, those who must now look for new jobs to do, new ways to channel their passion for stories?

Joanne Fritz, who spent many years behind the desk and in the aisles of CCBM, was the first to get in touch with me about Small Damages, months and months ago.  It is thanks to her that I will be at CCBM this coming Saturday, fitting, I think, that my first event for Small Damages be held here.  Perhaps I'll see you there, but more importantly, perhaps you'll find time, between now and this fall, to make your way to this great store and thank it for all it has given to all of us throughout these many years.

Chester County Book and Music Company
975 Paoli Pike  West Chester, PA 19380
West Chester, PA
2 PM


Serena said...

Very sad news about the store, but I hope you have a great time at your event and that it brings in some great sales for the store!

K. M. Walton said...

My heart has been broken since hearing the news.

I will see you Saturday.

kelly said...

This is not good news -- but I do hope you have a great event on Saturday. I shall spread the word. xo

A.S. King said...

I hadn't heard this news. I am so sad. I will also see you Saturday. :)

Joanne Fritz said...

That was lovely, Beth. And very touching. Thanks for the nod. See you Saturday!

Kathryn Craft said...

So sorry I'll still be out of town. Would love to hear you and meet you in person. Wishing you—and the bookstore—the best.

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