What are some upcoming trends for coming year?
We’ve seen a huge trend toward stories featuring music/art/political scenes in different decades (primarily in New York). There seems to be an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia for another time. As November approaches, more and more political philosophy books, old and new, fly off the shelves. Harbor Books’ booksellers will tell you “thrillers with ‘girl’ in the title”!
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
There are too many great books yet to be written. I couldn’t pick just one thing I would love to see. I always say, “I want to read something I've never read before.” As vague as that can sound, it’s also really specific. I am always impressed with an author when I have no idea where the book is going to go. That keeps it exciting!
We talk about the “in betweens” a lot at Harbor Books. There is a time for young readers that the middle-grade selections have become too juvenile but the young-adult books are dealing with some pretty heavy topics that not all young readers are ready for. I would really like to see that area tapped into.
What don’t you ever want to see again?
I never want to see another book in which the story could have been well-told in 400 pages but we end up with 800. It’s very sad for a good story to lose readers because of a lack of efficiency.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
We are so lucky to be in a community that has deep literary roots. That certainly sets us apart. We believe that reading enriches lives, families, and communities. We offer something nonessential in a completely essential way. We’ve been called “The Literary Hub of the East End” since opening—that was an incredible compliment. I set out to create an environment similar to a literary salon, reminiscent of Les Grandes Dames des Salons Parisiens and then, later in the 19th and 20th centuries, of Gertrude Stein, Colette, and Edith Wharton. A place where writers, artists, and readers could gather to relish literature. We host book parties, work with local schools for their book fairs, and bring new and established authors into the community for events. I opened Harbor Books, and people still were asking, “Are you crazy?! Opening a bookstore in this day and age is brave!” I never thought it was brave; I thought it was recognizing that books were still alive and well and supplying something that was still very much in demand. Being independent allows us to develop relationships with our readers that are unlike any others. As booksellers, we fall somewhere in between therapist, bartender, priest, and friend. It’s not just about the books. It’s about the entire experience: the culture of reading and a book store.
Taylor Rose Berry was born in Babylon Village, New York. She began her love affair with books at a young age as the only child of two avid readers. For practical reasons, she got into the restaurant industry and worked her way up from buser to general manager. For less practical reasons, Taylor studied everything from child psychology to fashion design at various institutions including the University of Vermont, New York University, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She decided to move back to the thing she loved most, books, when she moved to Sag Harbor and began working in a local bookstore. She now owns Harbor Books in Sag Harbor, New York.