Broken Shelves selling beer, wine, books in Sun Center


David Astor, owner and operator of Broken Shelves, a new book store in the Sun Center that also sells beer, wine, coffee and tea, in Gainesville Monday April 22, 2013.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 5:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 5:37 p.m.

A new bookstore/bar opened April 5 on the southeast side of the Sun Center in downtown Gainesville.

Enlarge

David Astor, owner and operator of Broken Shelves, a new book store in the Sun Center that also sells beer, wine, coffee and tea, in Gainesville Monday April 22, 2013.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer

Broken Shelves sells “good quality” used hardbacks and paperbacks in a variety of genres. The books line the shelves and lie on tables in a comfortable, eclectic living room-style atmosphere with artwork, chairs and couches. A handmade sweetbriar wood countertop lines a wall with large windows.

The store is a place to encourage and expand whatever customers are passionate about – whether it's reading, writing, drawing or knitting, said owner David Astor.

“It's sort of a pretension-free zone in here.”

The beer and wine selection, which is written on a chalkboard, includes Orange Blossom, Terrapin, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio.

Astor, 26, sold rare books while in college. He is now working remotely on a doctorate in intellectual history from King's College in London while he runs Broken Shelves with the help of two interns.

Broken Shelves is open from 5 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. or later, depending on the night's events or crowd. The store is closed on Sundays and typically stays open later on Friday and Saturday nights.

On Monday afternoon before the store opened, a woman stuck her head in to tell Astor: “You had a full house this weekend. It was so charming.”

Broken Shelves also sells “special” books, some of which are 50 to 60 years old and have been repaired -- and rare books, such as first editions by John Steinbeck and other authors.

Astor said his customers span a wide age range and that he is always interested in why they like a particular book.

“You never know why someone likes a book until you talk to them,” he said. “Ten people can like the same book for 10 different reasons.”

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top