By Max Weissman | April 15th, 2021
Albany N.Y. – Dove and Hudson is a small bookstore featuring used books on the corner of, you guessed it, Dove Street and Hudson Avenue. The store was opened in 1989 by previous-owner Dan Wedge, who continues to work there after Joseph Nathan purchased the bookstore in 2019.
The store offers around 15,000 books in new or nearly-new condition. They have a forever-changing selection of books that are chosen to meet the interests of loyal customers.
“There is a good reason why our customers keep on coming,” owner Nathan says when describing former owner and current employee Dan Wedge. “He is someone who loves his customers and wanted to learn about them and socialize with them and values their companionship.”
When Nathan took, over the community viewed him “as if [he] was a savior...people were afraid that this institution, with 30 years of history, would shut down. That's because of the tremendous and careful work and relationships that Dan had built over the years. This store, which so many people had a relationship with, meant something special to them.” The reflection caused Nathan to smile, “so, my goodness, I was the recipient of such happiness.”
Such customer loyalty is why the store continues to thrive in spite of little advertising and having had only two profiles written about them in the past several years. New customers hear about Dove and Hudson through word of mouth.
Senia Schutter, 24, a first-year grad student at UAlbany, “started a conversation with a coworker about a Kurt Vonnegut book she was reading, and she told me about a secondhand bookstore that sells great books for cheap. The homey atmosphere is my favorite. It has that comfortable, community aspect to it. Kind of like a hidden gem where you go to look at cool books and you know everyone there. The books are also really cheap so you can get a lot for less.”
“The owner is really nice. His love for books is very apparent. He seems to care a lot for the store. He mentioned that when the weather is nice, he puts books out in front of the store for people to take for free,” Schutter said. “He said he loves seeing people look over the books and loves helping people find their love for books again.”
Nathan puts a great deal of work into keeping the books he has in his store relevant to his customer base. The day prior to our interview he mentioned that he had travelled about 300 miles looking for books to add to his store. That is what Nathan believes separates Dove and Hudson from any big-name bookstores. Although Nathan notes, “I need there to be a strong new bookstore (referring to bookstores that sell new books) like that. It means that there's a better stock of literature nearby that's being circulated.”
When asked if Amazon has affected his business at all, Nathan responded, “There have been fears that the rise of smartphones, the rise of E books, would reduce that market but it remains steadfast and strong, and you can rely on it.”
When asked if he thinks he will ever sell the store as Wedge did, he replied, “I’m at a puppy stage of this, I have so much to learn.”
Nathan plans to keep his initial promise when he bought the store, he doesn’t plan to make any changes to the legacy, he wants to ensure that it is forever cemented in Albany’s history, just like the old grey bricks that make up the street outside the front door.