What if a bookstore only stocked one book?
To celebrate the launch of his new book about the Phoenix Mars mission, author Andrew Kessler constructed a “monobookist bookstore”–a temporary shop stocked with more than 3,000 copies of Martian Summer.
We caught up with Kessler to find out more about Ed’s Martian Book, a bookstore located at 547 Hudson Street in New York City. He explained: “Since we wanted to make a big serious statement about the future of books we had to get the timing just right. Ed and I waited for the Borders’ bankruptcy proceedings to begin and religious tension to mount across the globe. And when that all finally happened, we knew the timing would be perfect for a new kind of monobookist bookstore.”
He continued: “And we were right. The was only one thing to do build the first store around the Martian Summer book launch. It took a small army. Most of the army consisted of (and was led by) one of the most talented scenic designers on the Planet, Jorie DeFreitas. Don’t go building any new-fangled spaces without her.”
Kessler also explained how he assembled his ambitious project: “I dipped into the old savings a bit to make this whole project happen–but who wouldn’t to live on a NASA mission and then make a giant art project about it to tell the world!? I live the frugal life to make these moments happen. But I’d be very nervous to tell others to spend their hard-earned money on art projects (although I secretly want them to).”
He added: “But even with all that, I got a lot of people to donate time, real estate and good will. I never thought that I could really pull this off. The space on Hudson was in transition and the moment was right, so we jumped on it.”
Kessler concluded: “The thing that I did do was ask for favors (lots of favors) from almost everyone I’d ever met. This was a massive effort. And people rallyed to help me. I have very nice friends. Loads of people helped me unload book boxes, stock the shelves, design logos and even keep the store open. It was a massive team effort to pull it together. But it was well worth it.”
He added some simple advice for authors interested in following in his footsteps: “You’re going to hear a lot of people say, ‘Wow, that will never work.’ They’ll be right, of course, but if you love books and you should do it anyway. ”
UPDATE: You can check out the eBook version from Open Road Media at this link.
Full Disclosure: This GalleyCat editor will host an unrelated reading in this bookstore space next week.