424 Fairview Ave., Hudson, NY
Much in the same way that The Bookloft bookshop in Great Barrington, MA is just outside of town in a large strip mall, Fairview Books is just outside of Hudson, NY in a busy strip mall too, but while Bookloft surprised me with the organized presentation of an indie version of Barnes & Noble, Fairview is a different animal altogether, and I’m still not quite sure how to categorize that animal. The shop has unique items and some discounts, but the quality and style are all over the map. This can be good, or not so good, depending on your book shopping needs and expectations.
The shop itself is quite large, and up front there are a lot of gifts, games, figurines, toys, and dolls, lots and lots of dolls, while the rows of books begin about a quarter of the way back. Explaining the organization is a bit of a challenge, as there were sections with fiction and nonfiction mixed in, mysteries next to biographies, romance next to military history, and many sections had multiple copies of the same books, as if bought in bulk. Initially I didn’t recognized a lot of the authors, as some were self- or vanity-published books, but as you work your way through other sections in the rear, you begin finding crime sections, mass markets, cooking, sci-fi, self-help, and so on, each with more recognizable names. If you like hardbacked thrillers, there are plenty, and there’s even a signed section too. So there are both the known and unknown, and they’re sometimes organized and sometimes not.
The mass markets were reasonably discounted but some were either quite old or in worn condition. But I found other used books that weren’t marked as discounted and I’m not sure what the situation was with that. I didn’t see much in the way of new literary releases, but there were plenty of new-ish thriller, crime, horror, nonfiction, and memoir selections. It was a jumble, and that can be good or bad, but there are certainly a few diamonds in the rough. You just need to look, because there are lots and lots of books and it’s definitely the kind of shop where a book finds you instead of you going in with a list of books to look for. I could have spent a long time browsing if I went here first, but it was my last stop at the end of a long day so I decided to hit the road. If you’re passing through Hudson already and have some time, it might be worth it to find something random and wild. Hey, you never know.
Atmosphere — A long warehouse-type shop with a huge amount of books and gifts, but they didn’t all seem as up-to-date as they could have been.
Quality — Varying, from worn mass markets to self-published paperbacks, but also some new and nice hardcover nonfiction titles too.
Quantity — Loads and loads, and there were multiple copies of the same book in certain sections, as if bought in bulk.
Diversity — It was all over the place, so it was hard to tell if something was under-represented. But this shop hits a lot of topics by sheer power of quantity alone.
Affordability — Up and down as well. I saw some deals on the older mass markets but I also found used and self-published copies of books for full price or marked up too high. (You know those self-published books with $20+ sticker prices? Those books.)
Amenities — It was in a strip mall so there were commercial places nearby to eat and relax, but not much within the shop itself.
Location — In a strip mall outside of Hudson, NY.
Customer Service — The woman behind the front desk was very kind and upbeat, and she was on the phone helping customers order books and find editions, so the shop might have some special services I don’t know of. Call and ask what they can do for you!
Overall — The shop is a big mixed bag with lots to browse through but the quality and value is a bit scattered. Jump into the stacks and see what is hiding in there for you, but be careful to temper expectations. It’s a unique shop, for sure.