Posts tagged ‘Bookstore’

Knuth & company

Remember Stacey’s in Palo Alto and San Francisco? Only a decade ago these and other technical bookstores were the mecca of the tech industry, where developers would swarm at any time of day to catch up on the latest releases. One well-known Valley entrepreneur even told me she did her hiring there, spotting customers who looked like developers and picked the right books.

Times have changed. After all the other branches, Stacey’s venerable San Francisco’s store finally closed earlier this year [1], the victim of the bubble’s burst, of Amazon, and of the crisis. Many others in the US and elsewhere met the same fate.

But wait… In Gaul, a little village is resisting the onslaught. A couple of streets away from the Shakespeare and company bookstore immortalized by Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald and so many others, the Paris technical bookstore Le Monde en Tique [3] is a true legend of its own. Le Monde en Tique has, for the past twenty years, carried the best selection of computer and other technology books within a good thousand kilometers. I was there on Oct. 10, after the European Computer Science Summit (more on ECSS soon) for a book signing of Touch of Class:

Holding books

The store’s name, “the World in Tics”, is a wink to the many “tics” served by its books, from informatics (computer science and information technology) to “telematics” (computer  communication). Housed in a beautiful stone edifice in the heart of medieval Paris, on a little winding street close to the river, Le Monde en Tique is more than a bookstore: it is a haven for the local developer community, a place to stop by on a Saturday afternoon for a passionate discussion on agility, Ajax or Agitar. There is even a small garden:

The garden

There is a secret to Le Monde en Tique’s continued success: the quality of its offerings. The unique skill of  Jean Demétreau and his team is their availability to locate hot new books, including those from the US and elsewhere, before anyone else does; the large Paris bookstores like FNAC, and the Web sites such as and are often several weeks behind. Not just the French sites, as a matter of fact: in the case of Touch of Class, Le Monde en Tique had the book about a month ahead of USA. This is why people come from very far away to get both the latest offerings and the classics.

So here’s my plug: whether you have just heard about a great new book, or haven’t heard anything and want to find out what is the latest great new book, this is the place to go. It might already be late when you finally take yourself away from browsing the shelves; but as you go out of the store and walk a few steps, the sight will not be too bad:

Notre Dame on an October evening


[1] Matthai Kuruvila, Stacey’s Bookstore closing down in S.F., in SFGate (San Francisco Chronicle), 5 January 2009, available here.

[2] Shakespeare and company bookstore in Paris: see here.

[3] Le Monde en Tique bookstore, 6 rue Maître Albert, Paris: see

VN:F [1.9.10_1130]
Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.10_1130]
Rating: +4 (from 6 votes)