A Cappella Books
484-C Moreland Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30307
Frank Reiss was a Classics major at UGA in Athens, GA when Athens was ATHENS!!! He came of age in its glory days alongside REM and the B52s. Bookselling is in his blood. His father is a bookseller in Alabama. Frank opened A Cappella in 1989 in what was Atlanta’s only pedestrian-friendly neighborhood at the time, Little 5 Points. He sells both new and used titles. In the last ten years, both chains have opened stores within walking distance. Frank shrugs them off.
“I’ll never have as much capital as those guys,” he says while going through a stack of used books to purchase. “It’s impossible for me to compete. So instead of focusing on what they have and trying to outdo them, I emphasize the things in my store that bring customers in, in the first place.”
And in looking at the stacks at A Cappella Books it’s striking to see just how personal his collection is. Frank hand-selects his books, and the store seems more like the neighborhood’s curated library than its book store. A Cappella has the neighborhood’s soul on its shelves, and Frank credits that soul for keeping him in business.
You find interesting books here. I find Jean Genet’s Querelle on the shelves. He also carries a great selection of books on indie music. He’s even started publishing! Small runs of out-of-print books and one newer title, a memoir by Peter Case
as for cultural and economic impact, Frank frequently works with his neighbors to host readings and events on subject matter interesting to them. A Cappella is almost a neighborhood speaker’s bureau.