Owner John Wronoski is giving up his basement shop of five years. He is hosting a sale (with many books discounted by 50 percent) until September when he’ll move the remaining books from 12 Arrow St. into the basement of his Pierre Menard Gallery next door. Running two businesses is too much, he has decided. Once the gallery lease expires next spring, the future of the bookstore is uncertain.
Wronoski would rather sell Lame Duck Books than close it. To that end, he is offering his free labor for a year to ease the transition and get a new owner up to speed.
“It’s an occupation in which there’s a constant opportunity for surprise and encounters with the most interesting people in the world,’’ he said, during an interview at the shop. “I like being in Cambridge. It’s one of the few places that an antiquarian bookstore can survive and thrive.’’
Yet he never managed to pay the rent out of sales from foot traffic at the store. What has paid the bills is selling rare books to institutions and private collectors. He has to keep his stock somewhere, and he likes the idea of having his books — ranging in price from a few dollars to thousands — in a public place. Besides, he loves being surrounded by books he hasn’t read. One book leads to another in what he called a “subtle and multifarious process.’’
All of that is missing from the pallid experience of buying books online, according to Wronoski. “I think it’s the worst thing that has happened to the book trade.’’
He sums up the 9,000 books at Lame Duck as important copies of important modern books about literature, philosophy, and art.
“The books in here have conversations with each other,’’ he said. Stop by and see for yourself.
In his introduction, Green acknowledges that the sermons are not Emerson’s finest works though they embody ideas that later made him famous. That is, the need to encourage goodness in one’s self through introspection and self-reliance.
■“Composed: A Memoir’’ by Rosanne Cash (Viking)
■“Cure’’ by Robin Cook (Putnam)
Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.