Her Faith in Bookstores and Book Buyers Abides

The owner of Appletree Books, Jane Kessler, aged 91, just remodeled her bookstore.

Jane Kessler has had two long careers. As a Case Western Reserve University psychologist, she wrote a top textbook and helped pioneer preschooling for children with mental retardation. Since 1990, she's run Appletree Books on Cedar Hill.

At age 91, you just remodeled the store. Are you an optimist?

It was an act of faith. This is the first time we've remodeled. We had electric light fixtures from 1975, when the store opened. We couldn't get light bulbs for them anymore.

What kinds of books sell in Cleveland?

It's hard to generalize about Cleveland. Even in the Heights, we have different areas. Suzanne DeGaetano at Mac's Backs on Coventry sells different books than we do. She has a big reputation in poetry. Here, we have a lot of trade paperback fiction.

We're almost part of University Circle here. People are either seriously liberal or seriously conservative. They buy pretty serious fiction and science and math.

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