The Bookstore in Lenox turns a new pageLENOX – The Bookstore, which has been serving the reading pleasure of Lenox residents and visitors for nearly 40 years, has been expanded for the first time with the opening of a used book emporium next door.
The appropriately named Next Door BookStore fulfills a long-nurtured dream of Matthew Tannenbaum, who has owned The Bookstore on Housatonic Street since 1976, despite ads that quip “serving the community since last Tuesday.”
He leased the new space in July after the Three Hills and a Cloud gift shop closed. Then he quickly began stocking new shelves with second-hand books, as well as new classical and jazz CDs.
“I’ve always needed more room, especially as the summer approaches,” Tannenbaum said, “and I’ve always had a desire to have second-hand books. Once before I had a second-hand book department in the basement here, but that was a long time ago.”
He added, “People are always asking for second-hand books. It’s a way to complement the book store. One of the things the town cried out for was CD music, classical and jazz. Jeremy Yudkin, Tanglewood’s musicologist, advised us what to get.”
Tannenbaum said the used book supply is growing daily/
“Customers bring them to me. I’m buying books, accepting donations and trading for credit, all by appointment only,” he said. “The focus is on good books, which has always been the focus of this store. We are not ruling out any subjects, but we don’t want textbooks or magazines.”
As for whether the store has felt the competition from large bookstores, such as Barnes and Noble, and from transactions on the Internet, Tannenbaum said, “They take away business, but The Bookstore runs at full capacity all the time. Customers who may fall off the wagon and go shopping online for quicker service or better prices ultimately don’t get as good prices or as good service as they get from me. We are not hurting for customers.”
He added, “The bookstore is a destination for people from all over the country. Within the last few weeks, a customer drove from Nebraska to meet me because she had read about me in a book years ago.”
Tannenbaum learned the book trade in New York City, where he worked at the famous Gotham Book Mart. He also was a book trade buyer and wholesaler before coming to the Berkshires.
“I have enjoyed selling books to several generations of full-time and part-time residents,” he said. “I’ve had a wonderful time being the bookseller in town with all the help I’ve gotten from the community, which has been very wonderful to me. When my wife got sick and when she died, the very close community helped me out very, very much.”
Tannenbaum lives with his two daughters, Shawnee, 18, and Sophie, 14, in Housatonic. He settled there in 1985 after living for a few years in Lenox.