‘Vulture’ Profiles A.N. Devers

The Bookstore That Became
the Face of a Movement

A.N. Devers opened the Second Shelf to change how we talk about
(and pay for) rare books by women.

By Hillary Kelly

It was a bit of a battle for A.N. Devers to convince her landlord to let her introduce so much pink into the Second Shelf, the “accidental,” internet-famous brick-and-mortar bookstore she opened last November in London’s retail-centric Soho. Hidden down the sort of narrow passage you only find in ancient cities, and tucked away into a paved, vaguely Victorian courtyard, there’s a Narnia-esque magic when you find it, as if the archway you stepped through may have only existed in the moment right before you crossed over.

The store isn’t pink, she explains, to pander to some outdated idea about femininity. “To be honest,” says Devers — the 42-year-old writer, editor, and dealer of rare books by women — as we sit very, very closely on a striped settee, the only seating in the miniscule space, “I’m not the girliest girl. I don’t wear a lot of pink … It’s not my favorite color.” She sees it as “a radical choice,” considering the old-boys’-club aesthetic that reigns at so many antiquarian book shops. Devers wants shoppers to feel comfortable, to “pull very expensive books off the shelf without worrying about it.” And, she admits, laughing, she also just loves how punk it feels to transform a stereotypically refined space into a modern vision of what a rare-books shop can be. Read the full profile at ‘Vulture’.

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