Via PW, word that Antonin Baudry, who wrote the GN Weapons of Mass Diplomacy and happens to be the the cultural counselor of the French Embassy is opening Albertine, a French language bookstore in the building that houses the French consulate in New York, a historic building located across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art designed by the great Stanford White, with the embassy’s cultural services division at 972 Fifth Avenue, across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The store will house “14,000 volumes of fiction, nonfiction, art, graphic novels, and children’s books in both English translation and French.”
Ya hear that? Graphic novels!
The inspiration behind Albertine, which is modeled after a private French library, comes from Baudry’s own love of bookstores, and concern for their well-being. “I don’t want to live in a city without [at least] three great bookstores,” he says. “Independent bookstores in the U.S., especially in New York, face a hard thing with rent,” he adds alluding not just to the closing of Librairie de France after its rent was tripled. More recently high rent has forced Rizzoli Bookstore, Bank Street Books, and St. Marks Bookshop to relocate.
Like many of the most successful stores, Albertine will offer an active events program, much of it comprised of French in conversation with Americans about literature and science. The store will kick off its events with a six-night festival (Oct. 14-19) curated by cultural critic and author Greil Marcus. Among those featured are graphic novelist and filmmaker Marjane Strapi, Mad Mencreator Matthew Weiner, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.
I’ve been to a few events in this building and it’s definitely swoon-worthy. The bookstore sounds amazing and should be a nice beachhead in the continuing invasion of Franco-Belgian graphic novels into the US. Oh yeah, there will also be books without pictures, too. Don’t forget those.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.