I have just read it in leMonde.fr Brentano’s: unhappy end, triste fin – the American bookstore in Paris is closed – liquidation judicaire (insolvency) – as they say it French. ““We regret to inform our faithful customers that Brentano’s is in liquidation since friday, June 12th, 2009, and is no longer trading. Merci de votre soutien et de votre fidélité pendant toutes ces années.“ As we are informed in LeMonde.fr – Brentano’s liquidation is not due to amazon.fr or other online bookstores like FNAC.com but to very high hire charges in Paris. A symbol of American literature, – the other American culture in Paris, France even in Europe is disappearing. We are also informed in one of the two articles dealing with foreign-language book-shops in Paris in Lemonde.fr – „Une vingtaine de librairies étrangères subsistent à Paris “ that also other foreign languages book-sellers have their problems in Paris, – problems mostly due to rising hire-charges. Actually Paris has only two German bookstores – Marissal Bücher, rue Rambuteau and Buchladen, in Montmartre – not very much for a international cultural capital as Paris . In my eyes – the loss of a traditional bookshop is also in some way a loss of cultural landscape. Of course I am not living in Paris, but in Grünstadt , where we are lucky enough to have two bookstores – Garamond and Buchhandlung Frank – and I buy most of my foreign language books (French, English) at amazon because to far away from any international bookstore, but I think the loss of such a symbol of American literature in Europe is also concerning bibliophile souls in Grünstadt.
Christophe Neff, Grünstadt 10.7.2009