BOOKS: Death Of A Salesman


INQUIRER: Robin’s Book Store, a favorite haunt of the Philadelphia’s literati, announced last week that this will be its last holiday season. It will be closing up shop at the end of January. Early this afternoon there were a handful of customers at the store. The customers appeared surprised at the store’s demise.

The city’s oldest independent book seller, Robin’s has long hosted poetry readings and autograph signings at 108 S. 13th Street.  “Operating a books store was always a better hoppy than a way to make a living, but now it’s impossible” writes Larry Robin in a news release. “Blame it on the Economy. Blame it on the Chain Stores. Blame it on the Internet. Blame it on Reading Habits.”robinsbooks_1.jpeg

Robin’s grandfather, David, opened the original Robin’s 73 years ago on N. 11th Street. The store has a storied history as a hotbed of controversy. In 1961, then-Assistant District Attorney Arlen Specter and his boss, District Attorney James Crumlish, sought an injunction against Robin’s for selling Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, which was denounced at the time as pornography.

Every bookstore in Philadelphia pulled the novel from its shelves — except Robin’s. “We sold 7,000 copies in one week,” Robin told Inquirer reporter Alfred Lubrano on the store’s 70th Anniversary.. “We were fighting for basic free speech.” Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the book was not obscene. From then on, Robin’s was known as a kind of forbidden-fruit stand, a place where you could find savory items others lacked, and where people stood up for art and language. MORE

RELATED: Robin’s, started by his grandfather in 1936 and believed to be Philadelphia’s oldest independent book seller, is calling it quits at the end of January.

BUY NOTHING DAY: The Good Consumer

NEWSDAY: Bargain-hungry shoppers stepped on a fallen Wal-Mart worker, who died Friday morning, after the crowd knocked down the store’s front doors — and the worker — during the “utter chaos” of a Black Friday shopping melee, Nassau County police said. “A throng of shoppers . . . physically broke down the doors” at around 5 a.m. Friday and knocked the 34-year-old part-time worker to the ground as the crowd pushed its way into the store at the Green Acres Mall, Nassau police said. MORE

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