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Manayunk entrepreneur keeps the neighborhood bookstore alive with rare and out-of-print books

When former Library of Congress researcher Ann Tetreault decided to open a book store in Manayunk, she knew she would have to create an environment people can't get at Borders or on the internet. Tetreault created the Spiral Bookcase (112 Cotton St., Philadelphia), a new take on the neighborhood book store, where she is currently featuring a collection of rare and out-of-print books from the 19th and 20th century. When she and her fiance bought their first house, they fell in love with the Manayunk neighborhood and wanted the Spiral Bookcase to play on their varied literary interests, as well as a love for their new-found neighborhood.

"Since we both have different backgrounds--he did electrical engineering and I did the arts--the spiral was common to them both. From science and math to the arts and religion," says Tetreault. "But also Manayunk is the coming together of a lot of different people from locals to students to people from the suburbs who come and visit and we want to be inclusive to everyone there, allowing them to share their love of books."

Tetreault hopes to offer a neighborhood feel by expanding her hours, creating book clubs and participating in community events like last Saturday's EcoArts Fest. While a bookstore may seem like an old-fashioned idea in today's world, Tetreault believes that the feeling of holding a book in your hand is something that will never go away. It is that joy of first cracking a book that Tetreault hopes to bring to Manayunk.

"If you sit down with your kid with a Kindle, you lose that intimacy of having the child flip the pages and have that kind of closeness," says Tetreault. "It is a different experience browsing a selection of books than knowing what you want and going online and getting it. You can't recreate the bookstore experience with an online store."

Source: Ann Tetreault, The Spiral Bookcase
Writer: John Steele
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