Monday, January 23, 2006

Hreflections: A Common Reader

It appears that quality-over-quantity bookseller, A Common Reader, has passed beyond the rim. Their website brings up a blank page and the toll-free number, 800 832-7323, rings unanswered. There's not much to see a the Internet Archive. A Common Reader, differentiated itself by sending out a small catalog of overlooked, well printed, and/or well written books of every stripe. The first book I ever purchased from them was The Last Cuckoo, a collection of letters to the London Times.

A Common Reader, the latest fatality of the move from bricks and mortar to the net. You'll be missed.


At 8:14 PM, Blogger Edward Vielmetti said...

There's an interview with the proprietor here - - well before they closed. A quick superficial scan of Google didn't turn up any stories on their demise.

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Tim Muench said...

Did A Common Reader vanish without a trace?

This seems out of character for its proprietor, with his articulate comments on reading books and living life.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger John said...


I agree, ACR has always shown considerable style.

So far as I can tell, they stopped doing business is the last few weeks. We found out something was up when I book we returned came back undeliverable.

We even tried their local number and it doesn't pick up.

A Common Reader - (914) 747-3388 - 175 Tompkins Ave, Pleasantville, NY 10570

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Tim Muench said...

Hi John,
Can't even return a book? Wow. I guess it really is gone. I got the holiday print catalog and email alerts right to the end of the year, but nothing in 2006.
Or did James Mustich read one too many mysteries and decide to create one himself?

At 2:03 PM, Blogger freddyknits said...

Very sad. I loved the Common Reader.

At 10:20 PM, Blogger Edward Vielmetti said...

I updated Wikipedia here with a link back to this page, so if some more of this mystery is unveiled we might hear of it.

At 5:34 PM, Blogger John said...

ACR have declared bankruptcy. A liquidation company has been called in to clear out the backstock and other assets:

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Tim Muench said...

Thanks for the info, John. This is a sad ending to a class act in the world of books. ACR had finally convinced me to buy the first volume of Morland Dynasty in November, & I have a feeling my wife and I will be continuing with the 25-volume saga, but no longer with the encouragement of the friendly Anglophiles at ACR.

At 6:49 PM, Blogger John said...

Its not much solace, I realize, but Bas Bleu ( has a similar attitude about their copy.
In addition, BookSense ( a great way to find local bookstores with a point of view, something lacking in major retailers on the net or otherwise.

At 2:06 AM, Blogger Edward Vielmetti said...

On a local (and thus equally sad) note, the discount/remainders bookstore Afterwords in Ann Arbor is closing. Perhaps they have already closed, I'm not sure. There's a photo set on Flickr here:

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Tim Muench said...

OK, I signed up for the Bas Bleu catalog. Thanks, Tim

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Tim Muench said...

I meant, Thanks, JOHN.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Al Bonnyman said...

Try again on searching the Internet archive using the Wayback Machine. I pulled up a lot of old ACR pages:*/

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Ellen said...

James Mustich is alive and well. He wrote a lovely essay in a new book The Still Small Hours w/pictures by Ellen Wiener. Check it out !
He is reviewing books for Barnes and Noble - Hooray


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