Booksellers misread tale of the times in bemoaning change

James Burnett III’s article “Turning the page” (G, Aug. 10) struck me in a deeply personal way. Five years before my father’s death in 2004, he was forced to shut down his trade magazine, AB Bookman’s Weekly. For 50 years this publication was the primary source for out-of-print and antiquarian book dealers and collectors in North America and, to some extent, internationally. The magazine’s demise began with the creation of Amazon and was over in the blink of an eye.

My father, Jake Chernofsky, was known throughout the antiquarian book world. Shutting down his business broke his heart. And yet, I never heard him complain. He admired technology, and accepted the role of progress even as he lost the role that defined his career.

The booksellers highlighted in the Globe article were among the very same colleagues who readily embraced Amazon’s services as a more efficient replacement to AB Bookman. Members of the American Booksellers Association continue to thrive with online book search services, even as they plead for equal support from President Obama.


I know I am not alone when I say that I will always love independent bookstores. My father’s former colleagues, however, might do well to take a page from his book: Keep on doing what you are doing as well as you can, for as long as you can, and don’t complain about the things you cannot change.

Brynna Chernofsky