Kicks Books Kicks Back: Brooklyn Bookseller Recovers after Sandy

by Melanie Mignucci

Here’s a feel-good story for the end of your day:

Brooklyn-based independent bookseller Kicks Books thought their entire stock of paperbacks was lost when Hurricane Sandy flooded their warehouse in October 2012. But thanks to rapid community organization, speedy volunteers and “the best coffee in the world,” Kicks Books has restored its stock and is issuing reprints of the six books it has on its roster.

Created in the late 2000s by the former drummer of the punk band The Cramps, Miriam Linna (and co-founder husband Billy Miller, of Norton Records, whose stock was also lost in the same warehouse flood), Kicks Books publishes works of pulp fiction and poetry in their signature “hip pocket paperback” format, designed specifically to fit into the hip pocket of your jeans.

The publishing house boasts of authors like Harlan Ellison, Kim Fowley, and punk and blues legend Andre Williams, among others.

Two “hip pocket paperbacks” by Harlan Ellison – LOVE that cover art.

What is so amazing about this story of recovery is that in the age of the big publishing, Amazons and Barnes and Nobles, a few local people could make a huge difference in the survival of a couple small-press books. Without indie presses like Kicks Books, it would be virtually impossible to find and enjoy the glorified ‘zines that are small-press books in their present format. The reality is that without literary troopers like Kicks Books, indie authors would possibly have to resort to self-publishing in order to have their name in print, as is customary in many other countries without a strong independent literature scene. We all owe a debt to the fans and friends of Kicks Books – and even the Brooklyn Historical Society – who got the word out to help out a neighbor in need.

Drying out records – not as much fun as they make it look.

Watch the sad but sweet video from Norton Records’/Kicks Books’ campaign to restore their stock on Vimeo.

Photos via Kicks Books’ blogspot

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