For the most part Hurricane Irene left bookstores untouched. Gwyneth Paltrow signed My Father’s Daughter at BookHampton in East Hampton, N.Y., amidst storm preparations. Many bookstores throughout the mid-Atlantic and New England closed on Sunday, including Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass., and R.J. Julia in Madison, Ct. Clinton Book Shop in Clinton, N.J., which is no stranger to flooding, sand bagged the store; Books & Books Westhampton Beach in Westhampton, N.Y., like many business close to the water boarded its windows.
Other booksellers decided to use the storm as an excuse to party. The Spiral Bookcase, a used bookstore in Philadelphia, offered food and drink and live music. When it seemed as if the storm had passed, Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn opened yesterday afternoon, and was soon packed.
While most booksellers escaped with no or very little water, Bartleby’s Books in Wilmington, Vt., was completely destroyed by flooding. In an email to Shelf Awareness, owner Lisa Sullivan wrote, “We plan to rebuild as soon as possible.” This is the second time within the past four months that Sullivan has lost a store. In April, her Brattleboro, Vt. bookstore, The Book Cellar, was closed due to a fire. No word yet on when either store will reopen.