Celebrating twenty-five years: Asheville’s Downtown Books & News
The Mountain Xpress has published a two-part profile of Downtown Books & News, Asheville, North Carolina’s eclectic used bookstore that shares the same management as Malaprops. A quirky place with a wide selection of books and magazines, movie theatre seats for lounging, and a great children’s section, Downtown Books & News is approaching its twenty-five year anniversary. Here are 10 things you should know about the shop.
1) It’s currently managed by poet and dramatist Julian Vorus.
2) The most popular books? Vorus is quoted as saying “‘The Inner Arts’ (spirituality) section ‘definitely pays the bills.’”
3) Downtown Books & News describes itself as “The grumbliest used bookstore in downtown Asheville. Been here and open every single day for round about 24 years.” The store never closes, even on major holidays.
4) Exciting finds from estate sales have included “correspondences with Henry Rollins, a signed Eudora Welty book and a first edition by Zelda Fitzgerald top that list [and] a signed, Modern Library edition of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.”
5) Rare books aren’t all you can find at Downtown Books & News—a customer bought a book from the one dollar bin this weekend and discovered a 1998 sales receipt signed by Stephen King.
6) Sales are up and the store is doing well. They recently added air-conditioning, and plans are in the works to re-do the bathrooms.
7) Downtown Books & News has their own version of the “Eat, Pray, Love” slogan. Instead of “Eat, Sleep, Read,” they made shirts and signs saying “Drink. Smoke. Read.”
9) There’s still a Downtown Books & News MySpace page, complete with playlist, blog, photos, and map.
10) The shop hosts a quarterly reading series and occasional musical performances, which have included “The Sugarfoot Serenaders, guitarist Tashi Dorji, alt-rockers Body of John the Baptist and lute player Will Tocaben.”
Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.