‘Rebel Bookseller’ in Pittsburgh on Monday to talk bookstore reality
‘Everything You Want To Fight For’
Sunday, October 02, 2011
By Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If you ever thought you wanted to own a bookstore, read “Rebel Bookseller”(Seven Stories Press, $14.95), because it will make you think again. And again. And again.

The author, Andrew Laties, has been operating bookstores of one kind or another since the mid-1980s, and he’ll be coming to one of Pittsburgh’s coolest — Copacetic Comics in Polish Hill — on Monday night.

His book’s idealistic subtitle (“Why Indie Businesses Represent Everything You Want To Fight For, From Free Speech to Buying Local To Building Communities”) belies some of the stark realities within.

“You will not be able to reduce the workload. No matter what, you’ll be working flat out. …[click here to read more]



A Bookstore Booms in Brooklyn


Opened two years ago, Greenlight Bookstore is already expanding, and has formed a new partnership with BAM. Take that, Amazon.

–In Fort Green-Clinton Hill Patch; By Jonathan Mandell — August 12, 2011

The week that Borders Books announced it was closing all its stores throughout the nation, an independent bookseller stood before a crowd at Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene and said he was glad.

“I’ve been fighting Borders since 1993,” said Andrew Laties, an author and owner of several bookstores over the years. “They put thousands of independent bookstores out of business.”

Judging from this event—a panel discussion last month by Brooklyn’s independent booksellers, some of them brand new—times have changed.

Laties’ non-fiction book, Rebel Bookseller, first published six years ago, is something of a call to arms. In the just-published second edition, he focuses his new preface on the two proprietors of Greenlight Bookstore, which opened just two years ago. His words are among the many that have been written about Rebecca Fitting and Jessica Stockton Bagnulo—though they come nowhere near matching the millions of words contained in approximately 9,200 books for adults and 3,600 for children that surround them at their store at 686 Fulton St.

At a time when huge bookstore chains are shuttering, when independently run stores of all stripes are struggling, and when even long-lasting brick-and-mortar establishments feel threatened by online shopping, Greenlight is expanding. [click to read more]


Uprising Radio asks: What Does Borders Liquidation Mean for Indie Bookstores?

(click the title above to listen to the 20 minute radio interview)


A last-minute bid by Borders Group Inc to sell 30 of its bookstores and assets to Books-a-Million, has failed. Borders Books, the nation’s second largest book seller now faces the liquidation of its nearly 400 stores nationwide. Internationally, Borders operates more than 500 stores. The giant retailer announced Title 11 bankruptcy in February of this year. The fall of Borders raises questions about the future of print books, and the physical stores that sell them. The growing popularity of digital books, and the expansion of online retailers like Amazon.com, has made print and digital books almost instantly available to consumers through a few clicks online. What does this mean for independent booksellers? On the one hand, the imminent absence of a Borders store in a city can drive more business to existing independent bookstores. But on the other hand, publishers who are owed millions of dollars by the bankrupt chain, are likely to pressure indie bookstores to pay up their bills faster. Additionally, the same factors that potentially led to Borders’ closing, can impact independent booksellers. Here in Southern California, independent bookstores are a near-extinct breed, with beloved institutions like Midnight Special Books in Santa Monica having closed their shutters one after another over the past several years. One indie bookstore that has managed to survive for more than a 100 years is Vroman’s Books in Pasadena.

GUESTS: Alison Keyes, Assistant Promotional Director at Vroman’s bookstore, Andy Laties, author of Rebel Bookseller: How to Improvise Your Own Indie Store and Beat Back the Chains



Rebel Bookseller 2.0 is the title of a terrific write-up of our panel of booksellers’ presentation at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn on the evening of Friday, July 22, 2011. Thanks to Ron Hogan of Shelf Awareness for this article.

L.-r.: Margarita Shalina, Christine Onorati, Tatiana Nicoli, Denis Loy Johnson, Andrew Laties.




Rebel Sell–Holyoke’s Andy Laties, 51, argues that now is the perfect time to open an independent bookshop (yes, really). Boston Globe, Sunday July 17, 2011.

Rebel Bookseller: How to Improvise Your Own Indie Store and Beat Back the Chains

There’s this book you want to buy. You could order it online from Amazon, but wouldn’t it be nice to browse a little and maybe buy a cup of coffee too? So you head to the nearest bookstore, Borders (or is it Barnes and Noble in your neighborhood?). Check the bargain table. Nothing interesting, but the glossy photos are pretty. Well, here’s an interesting novel. Fifteen dollars for a paperback! Forget it. Now for the book you’ve been coveting: not in stock. You hunt down a harried-looking clerk who tells you it will ship in seven days, just follow her and she’ll order it online. And are you interested in Super-Sizing your order for an extra fifteen dollars? If you join Hooked on Books you will save 10% on every third title for a year….[click to read more]

–Review of the 1st edition & IndyMedia interview by Wendy Gonaver, April 27, 2006



Rebel (Bookseller) With a Cause

Veteran bookseller Andrew Laties, currently of the Eric Carle Museum Bookshop in Amherst, Massachusetts, and formerly of the now closed Chicago Children’s Bookstore, has taken the natural next step for a nearly lifelong bookseller — he’s added his own book to the shelves. Rebel Bookseller: How to Improvise Your Own Indie Store and Beat Back the Chains is published by Vox Pop, a micro-publisher/bookstore in Brooklyn, New York, of which he is part-owner. It tells the history of many of the major events affecting independent booksellers during Laties’ more than 25-year career; recaps his own experience as a bookseller; and serves as a guide and caveat to prospective and new booksellers…[click to read more]

–Review of the 1st edition, in American Booksellers Association Newswire, Karen Schechner, Tuesday, Aug 23, 2005


2 Responses to Press Coverage

  1. Karla Ohner says:

    Is William Ayers a co-author of your book? If so, he is a very controversial figure and being a former police officer, I am almost regretting purchasing this book if he will receive one penny from its sale. Please let me know… Thank you. I heard you on Relevant Radio, BTW, being interviewed by Sean Herriott. I wonder if he is aware of the co-author of this book, if indeed, Ayers is one.

    • admin says:

      Bill Ayers is not a co-author and he was not paid for his afterword to my book.

      I hope you read his essay. He tells about how indie bookstores are the venues brave enough to permit him to speak even when he is threatened by people who don’t like him.

      I wanted this essay from him to be in my book because I think freedom of speech is a critical function supported by bookstores and controversial authors are the ultimate test and proof of that role.

      By the way, for 30 years Bill Ayers was an education professor in Chicago, which is when I met him.

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