Stockist Spotlight: Ada Books // Providence, Rhode Island
We try to feature all of our different rad stockists weekly because we believe in supporting small business!
What's the name of your shop? Where are you located? Tell us about y'all!
My name is Brent Legault and I own Ada Books in Providence, Rhode Island. It's mostly a bookshop -- that's how it started anyway.
What made you decide to open? How long have you been around?
Over eleven years ago -- but it has also amassed a pretty good indie comics section, lots of zines, spoken word LPs, and cool magazines, of course, like Got a Girl Crush.
What's your favorite thing about being a small biz owner?
The thing I like about owning a small retail shop, rather than just selling online, for instance, is meeting new people (sounds dumb, but it's true!) and seeing old friends and long-time customers every day or week. I try to make Ada a welcoming place with good things on the shelves (and other flat surfaces.) And there are readings and presentations and classes here, as well.
What's your favorite thing to buy for your store? How has the shop allowed you to discover new artists/product?
Most of my books are used, and I love going through collections or, in many cases, massive accumulations of things. I select what I think works at Ada and leave behind or donate the rest. Of course, I buy new stuff, too. Small press poetry, fiction, and comics, but only the interesting, the well-designed, the weird. I try to make the shop a place for ideas that aren't everywhere and anywhere. That's why your magazine is on the shelf but not, for example, Golf Digest or People.
Why did you want to open your store? What was your mission/intention?
I opened Ada because I love reading, and I love books and other papery things. I wanted to be able to make a living surrounded by the physical objects I love most, to spend my days among the company of my favorite writers. And I wanted to be around others who felt the same way. When I opened, in 2006, reading on screens didn't seem a likely threat. It seemed, to me at least, like something video stores and music stores would have to watch out for but not bookstores. Now I find that many people are "rediscovering" the analog and tactile wonder of nicely made books. And they're taking time to buy them and read them and display them and, sometimes, honor them.
Ada's motto, perversely and purposefully verbose, is "A Stubborn Purveyor of an Outmoded Technology." They are more than words to me. They are a life, they are a lifestyle, they are a life force.