Friday, March 16, 2007

Inside Old Saratoga Books

Allow me to give you a virtual tour of Old Saratoga Books. We are located in a large Victorian commercial building, where we share downstairs storefronts with a violin maker, art gallery, doctor and stained glass studio. Our space has 14 foot high ceilings, which makes for great lighting, but terrible circulation of winter heat and summer breezes, particularly upstairs. Best to visit in person in Spring and Fall.

The busiest time of the year is in Summer. Nearby Saratoga Springs has the world-class Saratoga Race Track, where thoroughbreds and the glitterati converge during the six-week racing season. Saratoga Springs also has a great Performing Arts Center which hosts a jazz festival, and is the seasonal home for the New York City Ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as many other musical events. Other visitors include boaters docked on the Hudson River and history buffs checking out the Saratoga National Battlefield, the Battle Monument, General Philip Schuyler's summer
residence and other area historic landmarks.

We have two floors in our bookshop, with all of the fiction downstairs and a lot of the non-fiction housed above. We have a special kid's section to corral the young ones, although it is frequented most by nostalgic adults.

The last time we took inventory we had between 50,000 and 60,000 books and these are divided up into over 90 categories, from circus books to labor history to Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes. We have strong collections in history of all kinds, but are particularly deep in the American Revolution and Colonial history sections. Dan and I love art, music, cooking, gardening, how to books, natural history and mysteries, so those sections are well represented.

Dan has a love for the Modern Library imprints, so we have a special corner for these classics. He's also a fan of vintage paperbacks (at least their cover art) so there are many beauties from the 1940s-60s in our paperback section, organized alphabetically by publisher and then by author. The books are a hoot, from "The Terror of the Handless Corpse" by William Dale to "After Doomsday" by Poul Anderson to "White Witch Doctor" by Louise Stinetorf. Certainly there is a variety of wild sci-fi, western, mystery and sexy titles to peruse.

Store Cat Sam presides over the shop. He's a skinny stray we adopted after he was dropped off at my neighbor's barn. The resident barn cats would have none of him and he was slowly starving, since he couldn't penetrate the ring of cats surrounded the communal food dish. We brought him to the vet and then the shop and he quickly doubled his weight and is now actually on a perpetual diet. We've had to fend off well-meaning cat lovers from slipping treats through our mail slot when we're closed, especially after the morning I found breakfast sausages on the floor, crawling with ants. Sam does favor a spot of blueberry yoghurt now and then. And catnip anytime.

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