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Fred Bass, Strand Bookstore Owner, Dies at 89

Fred Bass, Strand Bookstore Owner, Dies at 89

The Strand Book Store owners Nancy Bass Wyden and Fred Bass attend a cocktail reception with authors from The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group at Strand Book Store on May 29, 2009, in New York City. (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 03 January 2018 03:08 PM

Fred Bass, the owner of New York City’s famous East Village Strand Book Store, died Wednesday from congestive heart failure at his Manhattan residence with his family around him. He was 89.

Bass’ tenure at the bookstore, which was founded by his father, spanned over 70 years. According to the New York Daily News, Bass began working at the store at age 13 and returned after college and fighting in the Korean War to build the Strand into a major literary haunt.

Bass moved the store from Fourth Avenue to Broadway in the 1950s and bought millions of books as he expanded the store over several decades, taking over several floors and finally buying the building in 1997.

Although he owned the Strand, Bass could often be found behind the acquisitions counter appraising and buying books from those who brought them to sell. The bookstore’s slogan is “18 miles of books” and Bass was an aggressive buyer, The New York Times reported

“I got the dust in my blood and I never got it out,” Bass told the Times during a previous interview. 

Bass is survived by his wife, Patricia, and daughter Nancy Bass Wyden, who ran the business with her father and will take over as owner, the Times reported.  

The Strand also sells items such as T-shirts and tote bags and offers new books at a discount. Bass often liked to brag the Strand contained more books than the rest of the stores on Booksellers’ Row combined did when there used to be many bookstores on Fourth Avenue. 

Many fans of the bookstore offered their condolences and memories on Twitter.

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Fred Bass, the owner of New York City's famous Strand Book Store, died Wednesday at age 89 from congestive heart failure.
fred bass, strand, bookstore, owner, dies
Wednesday, 03 January 2018 03:08 PM
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