Our anniversary party is right around the corner, and bookseller Susannah has gone above and beyond the call of duty to put together an A-to-Z of our indie decade.
A: Is for Anniversary! Our tenth! How time flies when you love what you do. And so happy to be a fiercely independent bookstore during these times. Time to party! Also A is for Authors! We never know who might be visiting us season to season but hosting new authors never gets old. Meeting John Waters and Ian Rankin were personal highlights for me.
B: Is for Bestsellers! Our Indie bestseller list has held such gems over the years as The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Olive Kitteridge and Seamus Heaney's Beowulf.
C: Is for Customers! For all those loyal customers who have supported us since the doors opened and for all the new ones who continue to find us. And for all the avid readers who love to browse, who can't leave with just one book, and love an impromptu book discussion at the cash register. Also for the children who have graduated to the Young Adult section who first came in as babies. And for those who come looking for that elusive book with almost no information - I love a good treasure hunt! Keep coming back - we love you all.
D: Is for Dogs! Dogs are customers too and we love to see them. We even printed a calendar a year or so ago featuring regular canine visitors. We have cookies behind the counter for all good dogs - please come up and shake paws!
E: Is for Events! Famous authors, local authors with their debut book, poetry readings, Harry Potter parties.... and so much more - we've done it all in the last ten years.
F: Is for Froggy paper! What do you mean you've never had a purchase gift-wrapped in our signature froggy paper? What are you waiting for?
G: Is for Neil Gaiman! We had over 5000 special orders for The Ocean at the End of the Lane and a sold-out speaking engagement that none of us will forget for a long time.
H: Is for Handselling! Over ten years of being able to inflict my personal taste on as many people as possible! What a great job and my personal favorite part of being a bookseller, especially at Christmas when everyone needs some ideas!
I: Is for Fresh Ink! Our innovative young readers review program which has been a huge success. Hundreds and hundreds of reviews received and uploaded on our blog.
J: Is for the Janes! For founders Jane Dawson who retired last year and Jane Jacobs who did so very recently, I thank you for being such great colleagues, for picking such funny greeting cards to sell and for the amazing knitting and mystery sections!
K: Is for Kobos! I love the Kobo app for my iPad which I load up with e-books when I travel through the Porter Square Books website. (And you can too!). In the next ten years I hope to see Kobo become The Last Word in e-readers for the Indie savvy book lover.
L: Is for libraries! For Cambridge Public library's Cambridge READS. For the holiday donations of books to the shelters. For all libraries for helping create readers and book buyers.
M: Is for moveable expandable shelves! I wish. Especially around the holidays.
N: Is for NPR! Just how many great books have we heard about on NPR? What a great "partner" they are for bookshops and authors, especially our friends at WBUR. I used to love driving in on a Saturday and hearing Scott Simon and Daniel Pinkwater laugh themselves silly over a new children's book that we would then sell out of promptly.
O: Is for Off-sites! One of our first projects, even before we opened, was selling books for the Lesley University Low-Residency MFA plan and sold or provide books all over the Cambridge area ever since.
P: Is for Prizewinners! For the excitement of listening to the announcements on the radio to find out first who has won the Caldecott and Newbery Awards for each year. For the honor of being asked to vote for the New England Book awards.
Q: Is for Quilt! We held a competition a few years ago to win a beautiful handmade Halloween quilt made by staff member and crafter extraordinaire, Jane Jacobs.
R: Is for Reading! I suppose I should have kept a log over the years with which to impress but please just believe me when I say I've read an awful lot in the last decade. From Wolf Hall to Donna Leon, Publishers Weekly magazine to the London Times book review section and it's all been wonderful!
S: Is for Staff! We're a varied lot with many different backgrounds and interests, with a common love for books. For those retired or just about to, those we have sadly lost, those who have gone on to other careers and those just joining us, we have all made PSB the unique place it is today.
T: Is for Teddy! A permanent fixture in our Children's Section, our big Ted has lots of little fans. And he's a really good listener if you feel like reading him a story.
U: Is for Ultra cool stuff! Our knickknacks, puzzles, games, stationery, mugs, t-shirts and things you didn't even know existed are unique and highly desirable. It's difficult actually getting out of here with a paycheck most weeks!
V: Is for the Vacuums we have lost over the years! Most have had names (My personal bête noir was Windsor!) and have been loved and reviled in turn but whatever form they come in, its hard to run a shop without them!
W: Is for World Book Night. As a dedicated WBN book pick-up location, we have been hugely successful with over 600 books given away free by participants this year alone. We’re very sad it won’t be happening again next year.
X: Is for eXtraordinary! Which we are in my opinion. Extraordinarily good booksellers selling eXtremely good books to eXtremely knowledgeable customers. Can I move on to Y now please, that was tricky?
Y: Is for New Years Day sale! For a fun tradition started soon after we opened in Porter Square. Time to spend those gift cards, treat yourself for some reading for the long cold days of January.
Z: Is for Zing! For the coffee and treats that have fueled us all these years.