Name: Three Lives & Company
Location: 154 West 10th Street, New York, NY
Description: The quiet, intimate atmosphere of Three Lives & Company leaves the book browser feeling as though they are walking through an old 19th century library. Dim, green-shaded lamps hang over the tops of the large wooden shelves and antique styled desk turned display table sits on a small raised platform near the back of the room. An oriental rug covers the platform, hiding portions of a well-worn wooden floor that is visible throughout the rest of the store. A solid-looking wooden counter fills one wall, the front of which is obscured by several racks of books. Soft jazz music plays in the background, and a solitary whicker chair with a red cushion sits tucked back against one shelf waiting for the occasional reader.
What I like: Aside from the cozy library-esque atmosphere, one of the best aspects of this quaint bookstore was the friendly, knowledgeable staff. The woman behind the counter was talking with customers throughout the duration of my visit and often times she was giving them book advice and other recommendations. Additionally, the store has little alcoves into which book browsers can temporarily disappear. The alcoves also act as natural section dividers, creating a seamless transition from genre to genre. In front of one alcove sits a rotating display table, which at the time of my visit housed books on the theme of “favorite New York reads.”
How they are combatting the pressures of the digital age: Interestingly, it appears that the main way Three Lives & Company is combatting the pressures of the digital age is by only embracing the digital age as much as absolutely necessary. They do have a simple website available that lists their hours, address, contact information, and schedule of readings. The website also lists a simple “about us” statement that places the store in the context of the community and discuses how the two “have grown up and evolved together.” They don’t sell any books online and instead have made the statement that:
“A knowledgeable staff that reads prodigiously has been a key to our success, as has a theatrical and artistic display of the books we carry. Special orders remain a significant area of service, and we are meticulous about our follow through. We thrive on discovering literary books that might otherwise be overlooked, and thrill to give them to our customers.”
Quoted material from: http://threelives.com/who.html