Sometimes people meet by chance. A bookseller writes an email asking for a meeting with one of the #logosedizioni authors and something special comes out of it, since the very first words: nothing fantamagic, but courtesy, passion and positive energy that go beyond the boundaries of the screen and of the black characters against the white background. Therefore I invite her to participate in an event but I’m told that she can’t, because she works alone, there is nobody to replace her and the bookshop is closed only on Sundays. “What if she falls ill?” I ask the agent who handles relations with her. Luca shrugs. If she falls ill, there’s nothing to be done… either she works anyway or she closes the bookshop. So destiny brings me to Padua, changes the time of my meeting and ensures that my train ticket can’t be replaced. So I seize the opportunity to visit Zabarella bookshop and meet with Barbara, the owner. I arrive in Padua and enter the bookshop, on a day it was bound to rain – as the unpleasant taxi driver told me – and maybe it did rain, but I didn’t notice. I am immediately welcomed by the “harpsithomb”, as Barbara calls it, a harpsichord that, instead of scores, shows all the books by Amélie Nothomb. I smile and remember the time when I was pregnant and spent whole days in bed reading Nothomb’s entire bibliography. I smile and think of The Character of Rain and how much my little girl who is now a woman loved that book as well. The statements of view and taste that you can find in a bookshop serve exactly this purpose: to tempt and recommend, but also to make people smile and remember, to establish a connection with the person who has suggested a particular title. The “harpsithomb” has told me very clearly that Barbara is most likely to suggest me a book I will love. On the left, a square of different tables that can be walked around offers a variety of interesting illustrated books. Against the walls are the shelves that host independent publishers. Under the staircase, I see a stimulating selection of Iperborea titles. Upstairs is a mezzanine/lounge that is also an art gallery with artworks for sale. Barbara has seen, recognized and greeted me, and is now wrapping a gift for a dear customer. As soon as she is done she approaches me and tells me about herself. She worked for a publisher (she has always loved books) for 11 years, she was happy with her job and could rely on a safe salary that allowed her to pay the rent and other expenses every month, until one day she spotted an opportunity and seized it without thinking too much. She used her severance package and opened the bookshop. She feels tired and confesses me that sometimes she works up to 90 hours per week, because owning a bookshop does not only mean selling books during the opening hours but also keeping the shop clean, arranging the titles on shelves and tables, exchanging e-mails, managing and updating a facebook page, answering calls, keeping up to date with the publishing market and selecting titles to buy and sell, choosing planning and organizing events, also physically, in order to stimulate interest and sales… and then again… she also tells me that over a rather long period of time the bookshop held an event a day, which means moving books from one table to another – and I can assure you, in case you have never done it, that they are much heavier than they seem. But she smiles. She is satisfied. Tired yet sure she has made the right choice. She loves to share her taste and her world with her customers – be they new or loyal ones. She talks about communication, synergy, about building relationships and dialogues between people that didn’t know each other before, through books, images, through the passions of each of them, and her own. She would like to have a BIG shop where she could invite all the artistic and intellectual organizations of the area and beyond, to share collaborate and PRODUCE CULTURE. Personality, determination and DREAMS. A small treasure nowadays, when any attempt to come out of the crowd seems to be risky and meaningless, as if nobody in the world ever dared try before, as if it wasn’t dreams that create wonders. She believes in it. And I believe in her. I believe in all the Barbaras that still exist today, in all the bookshops where the best seller list never matches the official one because it depends on the taste of one particular person that chooses and shows titles with love, I believe in all the bookshops that still have a soul.
via Zabarella, 80 - Padova
Tel. 049 738 9597