Storied Paris Bookstore Gets Long-Due Makeover

After Joyce and Hemingway, Shakespeare and Co. spruces up
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2009 7:27 AM CDT
Storied Paris Bookstore Gets Long-Due Makeover
Shakespeare and Company, the legendary bookshop in Paris, is being transformed under its new 28-year-old manager.   (©ChrisYunker)

(Newser) – Shakespeare and Company, the English-language bookshop on the left bank of Paris, has been a refuge for writers from James Joyce to Ernest Hemingway to William Burroughs. Its owner, the sainted George Whitman, is still around at 95—but as Amazon keeps growing, he's handed the shop over to his 28-year-old daughter. "Dad’s such an eccentric; Shakespeare and Co. is my real father," Sylvia Beach Whitman tells Bloomberg.

The dust-covered bookstore is famous for letting visiting writers sleep there in exchange for work, but until recently it had no Internet access or even a telephone. Sylvia is installing a café and small theater and has struck a lucrative deal with a champagne company, but she insists that the legendary bookstore will stay true to its roots. "I don’t need to rebrand the place," she says. "This is the rebirth of the most powerful brand in the bookstore business." (Read more Paris stories.)

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