Saying Goodbye to Stacey’s Bookstore

Cara Black has always read from one of her Aimee Leduc novels at Stacey’s Bookstore in downtown San Francisco. But yesterday’s lunchtime reading from MURDER IN THE LATIN QUARTER not only proved to be the last, but the last-ever event Stacey’s will hold as the bookstore closes this month. The San Francisco Chronicle has the details:

Stacey's served a nice red Rhone wine, a couple of kinds of cheese
and French bread for the occasion, which was both pleasant and sad.
"Bittersweet," said Black. The store is having a going-out-of-business
sale, and even Black's newest, "Murder in the Latin Quarter," was 50
percent off.

"We are just devastated," said Laura Sheppard, events director at
the Mechanics' Institute, which has been in San Francisco since 1854.
Stacey's and the Mechanics' often exchanged programs, and the authors
who read at the Mechanics' were always available at Stacey's.

Stacey's was always a stop on the famous author circuit, and lots of
big names came. But some books and writers presented at the noontime
readings at Stacey's were unknown, reading their own words aloud for
the first time before an audience of strangers.

"It's important in how we get started," said Sheldon Siegel, who
writes mystery books. "They have let new writers come in, take a chance
on them and introduce them and let them build an audience."

But soon that will not be the case, and once again, the economy’s to blame:

Stacey's was always crowded at lunch hour. It was a place to sit,
to ask the clerks for advice, or just to look at books. "You know,
people don't think of the Financial District as a neighborhood, but it
is," said Ingrid Nystrom, the marketing manager at Stacey's, who has
run 50 to 100 author events a year there over the past 11 years. "It
will be a real loss to the neighborhood. We've had some people crying."

Stacey's had a lot of books on financial topics, and the numbers for
the store were grim, Nystrom said. "We sold $4.5 million worth of books
last year," she said. "But the place (three stories and a basement) is
too big for the number of people."

More from Colleen Lindsay, who points to Nystrom’s very lovely farewell letter.