Although L.A.'s Arundel Books ended its 25-year run inLos Angeles this past Saturday, the store is being reborn on Vashon Island inWashington State as part of the new Center for Sustainable Book Arts, a uniqueorganization that will provide workshops and classes in book arts andliterature plus a retail space that is set to open in July 2010.
Phil Bevis, Arundel's owner since its inception in 1984,said the move is an "exciting opportunity." The new Center will allow him to dothe three things he cares most about. "I'll be able to continue the bookstore experience, create books, andshare the creative process with a wide range of people interested in the bookarts," Bevis said. Founded in 1984 as afine press that continues to print and publish hand printed, letterpresslimited editions, Arundel specialized in literature and art books, many of themrare and collectible, as well as some new inventory that emphasized thoseareas. "We always used college internsto help make our books, and I found that teaching is a very productive processfor all concerned," said Bevis, who has already scheduled the first three workshopsat the Vashon Island Center.
Arundel will maintain its Seattle retail store, locatedin the Alexis Hotel, as well as its two onlinestores, one for rare books and the other for Arundel Press. Sales at theLos Angeles store had been steady through the downturn, although a significantincrease in mail order and online transactions offset a drop invisiting customers at the retail space. " Transit times have really increased in the Los Angeles area," Bevisnoted, "and since we offer a very low shipping rate to our customers many ofthem right here in town began ordering over the phone or online." The additional challenge of running abusiness in two different states contributed to Bevis' decision to close theL.A. store.
The Center forSustainable Book Arts is establishing a relationship with PNBA as a meansto engage more members of the Northwest arts community, and will welcomewriters, artists and printers to its programs. Writers Lindsay Hill and Layne Maheu will teach classes this summer, and"The Poetry Chapbook from Manuscript to Printed Book," the Center's first bookarts workshop series, will begin in July and include Bevis as one of its threeinstructors. The retail portion of theCenter will carry a deep stock of related arts titles as well as regionalbooks, and Bevis plans to have it open for business full-time during the summermonths and less often during Vashon Island's off-season.
"We've had a wonderful run in Los Angeles," Bevis noted."We've hosted great authors, like Mark Strand, Philip Levine, and SoniaSanchez. But the best thing about thestore was the people we met. I look forward to meeting many more amazing peoplein Seattle."