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Author Opens Bookstore in NYC That Only Sells One Book

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By HVculture on May 20, 2011

To promote his new book Martian Summer, author Andrew Kessler opened Ed’s Martian Books, a New York City bookstore that only sells one book — his new book, Martian Summer, not surprisingly.

That certainly makes it easier on people who have a hard time wandering into bookstores and can’t escape without buying a giant stack of overflowing paperbacks.

The book is Kessler’s account of his time spent one summer as a civilian observer of the 2008 NASA Mars Phoenix rover mission. Publisher’s Weekly described the book as a “slightly offbeat firsthand account of scientific determination and stubborn intellect.” It also “delivers a fascinating journey of discovery peppered with humor.”

The store, however, is a rather clever marketing ploy, which is fitting because Kessler’s day job is in advertising.

Mr. Kessler said he was inspired by restaurants like the Meatball Shop on the Lower East Side. “I was thinking about people that just sell one thing really well,” he said. Religions, he reasoned, ply a single book. Why can’t a bookstore? He calls himself the Monobookist.

He is not the first: Walter Swan, a plasterer-turned-author, opened the One Book Bookstore in Bisbee, Ariz., after self-publishing a compilation of stories about his life that publishers had rejected.

Mr. Kessler seemed delighted to learn of Mr. Swan, who died in 1994. Ed’s has inspired some telling responses since Mr. Kessler opened the store on April 12.

“People really project themselves onto the store, when they feel really happy or angry or ask you how you can possibly pay your bills,” Mr. Kessler said one recent evening, as the after-work crowd breezed past, some doing a quick double-take. “It gets pretty intense sometimes.”

He estimates he’s only sold about 100 books from the fake bookstore, according the NYT’s article, because he’s “not a very good businessperson.” The bookstore will close once the new tenant moves in at the end of May.

(photo by Trammell Hudson)

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