If you’re curious about what’s changing and what’s staying the same, keep reading: Jill and Ad gave Littsburgh the whole scoop on the change. And get your harpoons ready: White Whale Bookstore’s official launch party will be at the store on Friday, October 14th, from 6 to 8pm!
Note: EEBX will close for two weeks prior for renovations.
Why the relaunch?
That’s always been the plan! Pittsburgh has a wealth of great used bookstores, but for a city this size to have so few indies selling new titles, it’s a need that we wanted to fill. But really, the change of focus has to do with our passion for current fiction and nonfiction. Both of our backgrounds are in publishing, and we love to see what new titles are being brought to readers, what new writers are emerging with challenging and beautiful writing. It really is a thrill.
Why White Whale Bookstore?
Having the store’s name be a sendup to one of the all-time great books was too good to pass up, and Moby Dick fit the bill. We loved the idea of the White Whale as metaphor—an ambition you have, a goal you’re constantly striving toward. We saw that in ourselves with running the bookstore, and we see it in our relationships with our customers, with helping them find the perfect book when they’re here. There’s also the scary side of the metaphor. Running a small business is a risk, and we don’t want to end up like poor Ahab. We liked the honesty in that, but we hope that with enough guts, we’ll prevail.
What’s changed? What’s the same?
We’ll still have a used book section, but our focus is going to be new titles, which will have a much larger presence in the store. Jill comes from a background in children’s publishing, so we’re going to have a really great area with new young adult, middle grade, and children’s books. We’re also going to have a table that highlights a different indie press each month, which I’m geeking out on. The store will get a new coat of paint, we’ll have a new logo, and we hope it’ll be a space that people will want to spend even more time in. As for stuff that isn’t changing, we need to recognize what a wonderful bookstore Lesley Rains created in EEBX. The sense of community here and how it functions as an event space for the Pittsburgh literary community are the defining characteristics of the store and the biggest reasons why Jill and I are here now. We just want to build on that.
Upcoming titles you’re excited about?
For the sake of transparency, I should say that her book launch will be at our store on 10/25, but I’ve been blown away by how good Clare Beams’ We Show What We have Learned is. Beams is a Pittsburgher, and this is her debut book. It’s a short story collection that’s at times creepy, at times surreal, and wholly engrossing. Her work garnered a cover quote from Joyce Carol Oates likening her to Alice Munro and Shirley Jackson and I think the comparison is spot on. We think she’s going to make a big splash—pardon the whale pun.
Join Ad and Jill for White Whale Bookstore’s launch party:
Friday, October 14th 6-8pm
4754 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh
Header from Moby Dick, illustrated by Rockwell Kent