Girl-Watching at the Paperback Bookstore
Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
September 7, 1961, Vol. VI, No. 46
The Revolving Reader
By John Wilcock
Apart from their subsidiary function as places to buy books, the four branches in the Village of the Paperbook Gallery have proved invaluable centers for girl-watching, time-wasting, and other aesthetic and philosophical pursuits. When, however, Martin Geisler, 35, ventures uptown with his first branch later this month, there'll be a new refinement to amuse the less sophisticated Time Square trade -- revolving window displays.
Site of the new branch is the old Hanson's Drugstore at Seventh Avenue and 51st Street, whose windows will house a 12-foot-high rack containing almost 2000 books. The customer who presses a button to bring a row of books down to his level will unwittingly change the whole window display.
There's no particular significance to this little gimmick, but it does give some idea of how Geisler says on the ball. He opened his first store in Sheridan Square three years ago, followed up with three other Village stores, franchised others in Nantucket, Santa Fe, and Wilmington, wrote a basic guide on "How to Set Up and Operate a Paperback Bookshop" which has sold 1200 copies, and set up his own publishing house, Excelsior Press. Publishing ventures so far have been Seymour Krim's "Views of a Nearsighted Cannoneer," which has sold 6500 copies; "Where to Go in Greenwich Village," a dining guide by Marty's wife Joan Geisler and The Voice's Rosetta Reitz, which has sold 3500 copies; and a 75-cent poetry book, "All of Ted Joans and No More," which is halfway through its second thousand.
Geisler, a former advertising man who first went into his current business when he realized there were enough paperbacks in print to stock stores on their own, takes an optimistic view of the future. He believes that "the potential market for paperbacks has reached the point where it more or less involves the whole population."
And his store warehouse at 27 Third Avenue would seem to confirm this belief. Among the paperbacks on display ("there are now 14,000 in print, and we handle all of them") are such little-known selections as "Jesus Was a Beatnik," "Making Money in Today's Market," "Ritual Magic," "Cartoons from Krokodil," "God and the Day's Work," "Self-Defense for Women," and "Nostradamus on Napoleon."
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.
- Brooklyn Flag-Burning Protest Erupts in a Few Almost-Fights
- The NYPD Has Installed Cameras Across the City So You Won't Be Tempted to Set Off...
- Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Aging