Christopher P. Stephens, Bookman

Chris Stephens has been a book dealer since 1965 - earlier if you count childhood buying and selling.

Stephens has sold major collections to university libraries all over the world. He has operated appealing bookstores in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Hastings on Hudson, NY and several in NYC, NY. He is a wholesale dealer to other bookstores all over the world.

Chris loves books.

Stephens now maintains a lively internet operation out of his new home in Scranton, PA.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


A kind of ugly scene played itself out at riverrun today. It was after 12:30. Low blood sugar played a part.

Chris Stephens, riverrun proprietor, was locking the store door to go out for a much needed lunch break. This other guy, a potential customer, was getting out of his car in anticipation of a much needed book break. The men collided, metaphorically speaking.

The potential customer could not believe that Chris was denying access to the books.
Both men were driven to extremes of expression by their "much-neededs", but the potential customer had a point. If I were giving a course in retail 101, I would teach these lessons: Don't ever close the store during open hours, even briefly for lunch. Don't argue with potential customers.
Chris would fail that course. More to the point, Chris wouldn't sign up to take that course.

What do store proprietors owe their customers and potential customers?

Chris would say honest dealings. He'd probably also include owner expertise and an interesting inventory on a list of what the store owes. But strict adherence to posted hours wouldn't be there.

In spite of being closed occasionally and briefly for lunch, riverrun is great bookstore. It's open every single day of the year. Come visit. For sure you'll get honest dealings, a terrifically well-informed owner, and a mighty interesting stock.

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