When Moby Dickens Bookshop closed its doors during the first week of July, there was a sense of collective mourning here in Taos.
The beloved bookshop had been open in the same charming location where the John Dunn Shops meet historic Bent Street since Art and Susan Bachrach opened it three decades earlier. In 2012, the Bachrach’s sold the business to Jay and Carolyn Moore who moved to Taos to run the store.
The Moore’s made several changes to the shop, including moving and downsizing the children’s book section which had always been located in the front of the store. Once inventory began dwindling and special orders stopped arriving, many locals (including myself) stopped shopping there entirely. The only good thing that we could see them doing to the store was that they installed outdoor home security cameras!
When Moby Dickens closed suddenly in July, customers were greeted by a going-out-of business sign on a locked front door. The Moore’s explanation for the closure was multi-fold; blaming Amazon, fickle local (and tourist) buying habits and increased parking meter costs on Bent Street and the adjacent parking lot.
Polly Raye, the owner of the property actively sought out potential new occupants, eager to keep the space in a literary mode. She discussed the possibility of a co-op with SOMOS and many believed that would come to pass, but when Noemi de Bodisco, the owner of Op.Cit Books in Santa Fe and Tome On The Range in Las Vegas, N.M., discovered the space was vacant, she jumped on the opportunity and a little over a month later, the bookshop reopened under its new name, Op.Cit Books (Taos).
Due to outstanding legal issues related to the previous owners, she can’t use the name Moby Dickens at this time, but hopes to be able to in the future.
De Bodisco had wanted to open a bookstore in Taos for many years, so when she heard the store had closed, she called Polly Raye and signed a lease immediately. Several employees who used to work for the Bachrachs are being rehired.
Noemi showed me a sweet photograph, she’s hung in a corner behind the staircase, of the Bachrachs in the bookstore they opened.
“It’s an homage to them.” She says, “I really want to keep their spirit alive here, in the building.”
Op.Cit Taos has same business model as Op.Cit in Santa Fe, and Tome On The Range, which de Bodisco bought in 2013. The stock include new, used, and remainders books, special orders, and space for self-published authors to display and sell their books.
“But every store is different,” she says. “It all depends on the community.”
When I popped in a couple of weeks ago, Noemi was hard at work with her employees, sorting books, unpacking boxes and filling more shelves.
I noticed the kid section had been moved back to its oriiginal spot in the sunny front window and there was plenty of inventory throughout the store to please the most discriminating bibliophile.
Art and Susan would be pleased.
Op.Cit Books is located where the John Dunn Boardwalk meets Bent Street.
All pics shot on my iphone