For most people in Brooklyn — most people anywhere, really — books and beer aren’t exactly a tough sell. So it makes sense, then, that just a week after their opening on February 21st, Matt Nelson and Jacob Perkins have been garnering both publicity and word of mouth for their small but impressive new reading room, Mellow Pages.
It also makes sense that after such a short amount of time, they’re still settling into a routine, with nascent plans for a reading series, screenings, and a possible call for submissions. There also more basic things to take care of, too. Perkins notes that in lieu of the $20 membership fee, they’d be happy with “a mini-fridge or maybe a couch. It’s not really a set model right now.”
They’re also encouraging readers to exchange their own books (10 is the standard number) for a year-long membership. “We don’t want people to pay, really,” adds Nelson. “Paying goes back to the books, and to supply coffee and beer or whatever, but we’d rather have this be user-manipulated in some way, where you give us books that are your own stuff. Having the option to give a little bit of your own collection somehow influences this and probably makes it feel like your own.”
Located in one of the small artist’s studios at 56 Bogart near the Morgan L stop, the space is modeled after Pilot Books in Seattle (where Perkins and Nelson met as students at the University of Washington) and named after a zine they’ve been planning, and hope to have finished by the end of the month.
For now, the collection (which is catalogued on Goodreads, along with their wish list for other books) leans heavily toward theory and philosophy books Perkins’ brother used when researching for his PhD, but also favors poetry and emerging authors. “We’re not trying to fill out the dewey decimal system,” explains Nelson. “So you won’t find books on, say, horse maintenance.” That’s probably wise, given the constraints of their 250 square-foot space, but also, we’d guess, not necessary. Horse-lovers aside, it seems like they’ve already found their audience.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.