Red Rock Books now offering a vital cultural service

Red Rock Books now offering a vital cultural service By LAURA QUEZADA

News Review Staff Writer

Red Rock Books Provides a Vital Cultural Service During the Pandemic

Oliver, the Official Greeter Bookstore Cat at Red Rock Books, is more content since the bookstore went back to their regular hours, Monday to Saturday, 10am-6pm and Sundays, 11am-5pm. When the pandemic initially shut down the store, Ann Rizzardini, Store Owner, says, “I got worried about him when we were closed and on limited hours, I thought he would get lonely. I took him home for a while thinking he would be happier there. He spent two solid weeks under my bed; he wouldn’t come out to eat, to drink, he wouldn’t even use the litter box. After two weeks I thought he would be happier alone at the store. I had visions of him snuggling on my bed and getting along with my other animals. He wanted nothing to do with any of that. This is his home.” Oliver is as popular as the wide variety of new and used books and unique gift items, “People come here just as often to see Oliver as to look at books. They come in and ask for him. There are days when people are taking selfies with him or he is in somebody else’ lap later in the day. He enjoys it.”

Red Rock Books provides a vital cultural service during the pandemic. “People are reading more. We are benefiting from the library being closed. I hear it all the time, ‘The library is closed. We can’t go to the library.’ People like to browse, the people who check out books regularly couldn’t, so they come in weekly to get their book fix. The only trend that I have noticed is that the New Agey stuff seems to be more popular than it was before. Lots of stuff on crystals, and crystal healing and that sort of thing: Alternative healing, alternative spirituality, chakras, and all of that. But other than that it is just your standard fiction; they need something to read.” And in the gifts department, “Incense is huge these days. It has been a huge seller.”

“I am a member of the American Booksellers Association. They have been very active in keeping everyone connected and seeing how people are doing. It varies hugely how independent bookstores are doing. Some of them are really suffering, but we are doing very well. They share information about grants, programs. They have a way of competing with Amazon called Book Web which has a profit sharing pool that goes to all of the independent bookstores.”

“Because of the pandemic we are not having any events or book signings, that is sad. And we haven’t had our Independent Bookstore Day Celebration which is usually the last weekend in April. I still don’t know whether we should do that this year.” Other than that, it is business as usual with monthly specials that are announced on their Facebook page.

The ambiance created by Oliver and Rizzardini is reflected in her statement, “I love being here. I love talking to people about books all day. Putting away books, seeing books. It is fun.”

Pictured: Oliver, official greeter bookstore cat, and Ann Rizzardini, Red Rock Books owner, create a welcoming environment. — Photo By Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2021-03-26