Keep Calm and Keep Reading

UPDATE MONDAY MARCH 23: The Talking Leaves storefront is now officially closed to the public. We will continue to accept, process and ship orders from our website, and by email ( or telephone (716.884.9524). We will respond to all orders and inquiries as quickly as possible given the new circumstances, so please be patient.  Our staff is greatly reduced until we are allowed to open again. We worked very hard over the weekend to process all your orders and get your books out to you.  We’ll keep doing that, but now with reduced staff.

Under the executive order issued by Governor Cuomo on Friday, businesses are allowed to request an exempt designation as an essential business. We have applied for this exemption. We realize that books are not essential on the level of food, health and medical care, etc., but in this time of extreme crisis, disruption and anxiety reading provides a necessary oasis, a spring filled with knowledge, learning, wonder, solace and escape. Judging from the calls we’ve received over the past few days, many of you agree with us. With libraries and schools closed and many people still lacking access to digital devices or the technological savvy to use them, physical books and audio are a vital means of coping. Many of you have serious concerns about keeping your children occupied and their educational and recreational resources (puzzles and games, which we also stock) refreshed during a long disruption. We can help with that much more effectively if we can staff the store where the books are located with a minimal staff; we can do it even better if we can provide you with the same curbside service as restaurants. We understand and agree that an open storefront is not wise as we try to stop the spread of COVID-9, but we believe we will be able to contribute to the public’s mental health if we are as accessible as our food and restaurant colleagues. We don’t have any idea of how long it will take for the state to evaluate our request, or whether they will agree. When we have an answer, we will let you know. We’ll keep you updated about all changes as best we can via social media and the occasional email.

Your support and encouraging words over the past couple of weeks have been overwhelming, and only increase our resolve to fight through this and emerge stronger when we all return to whatever the new normal is. Being in a quiet, empty, partially darkened store is eerie, unsettling, and unnatural. When this is over, we’ll be the same lively place we were before this unexpected closure, filled with animated conversations in which we share our passions about books and the ideas we find there. Where you will be able to reconnect with some of your familiar interests and stumble across books that will open new worlds for you. Where you can come in for a paper, card or magazine, or spend a lunch break or an afternoon browsing for that special inspiration. There will be many stories to tell, and lessons to share, some light-hearted, some somber, more than a few tinged with the laughter of the retrospective look. We look forward to that day.

Our thoughts are with all of you, especially the sick, the folks working in health care, the public officials who’ve been working so hard to bring this pandemic under control, and those whose jobs have been lost in this trying time. Please take good care. Breathe deeply. Read—for fun, for pleasure, for escape, for learning. For each other, for all of us---read.

We hope we’ll all come through this having learned some valuable lessons, like the importance of clean hands, the nature of infectious diseases and how they spread, the importance of community to our mental and physical health, the necessity of intelligent and decisive public officials, the value of a rich and varied social life filled with all that our wonderful cultural and arts organizations regularly provide for us. And most important, let’s hope we all begin to live our lives with an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things, how our interactions with each other and with the natural world have real, long-lasting consequences. Global warming, climate change, deforestation, polluted water and earth, the extinction of plant and animal life, racism, gross inequality, the violence and devastation of wars, disposable everything, ultra-convenience—all these things, separately and in unison, make viruses like COVID-19 more able, and more likely, to afflict us. Our actions brought on much of this; our actions now can help end this crisis and stave off future ones.

Thank you, as always, for your support, and your shared belief in the value and power of books and reading. We'll see you on the other side of this.

UPDATE MARCH 20:  Our doors are locked, but we are still filling orders via phone, email, & web. We are keeping up with rapidly changing information and mandates, so please call us at 716-884-9524 or email us at with any questions. Thank you for your continuing support of Talking Leaves.
UPDATE MARCH 17:  WE ARE CUTTING BACK ON STORE HOURS FOR THE TIME BEING.  WE WILL REMAIN OPEN FROM 10-6 DAILY. As noted below, the web is available 24 hours a day, with enhanced delivery and pickup options.
Like most independent businesses we’re getting calls and queries about how we are doing, and what we are doing in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. So far, we are doing fine. For the time being and the foreseeable future, we plan to remain open, following CDC guidelines for maintaining a safe public place, while monitoring updates to medical and governmental guidelines.
As independent booksellers, we are committed to offering you broad reading choices -- current events, escape, reflection, poetry, well as other creative ways to engage your mind. New books, puzzles, and magazines arrive daily. We are here for you during this time of fear and uncertainty.
Our website is open 24 hours a day. You can browse and order there, choosing either delivery or in-store pick-up. You may also call or email us with your requests or if you need our assistance. We will do what we can to facilitate quick and easy delivery. We will be happy to bring your purchase to your car if you want to pick up your order without coming into the store.  
During this crisis we are offering domestic media mail delivery at the reduced rate of $3.00 for one book, regardless of weight, and $1.00 for each additional book; domestic priority mail will be $6.00 for the first book, $1.50 for each additional book.
Please remember, too, that from our website you can download audiobooks through our partnership with and obtain e-books through our partnership with KOBO. All purchases through our store and website keep more of your dollars cycling through our local economy.
Most upcoming events, our own and those with our many collaborators, are being postponed. We will keep you updated on our website and on social media as things change and events are rescheduled.
Locally-owned businesses are touchstones for their communities, yet our size makes us especially vulnerable during times of economic and social distress. Our mission is to sustain the culture and commerce of our local living economy, including job security and benefits for our employees. We all stand together during this unprecedented occurrence. We appreciate your continuing support. 
“Courage is as contagious as fear” - Susan Sontag
Thank you and be well.

Check out some of our current favorites, and explore the site.

How to Be an Antiracist Cover Image
No Walls and the Recurring Dream: A Memoir Cover Image
The Nickel Boys: A Novel Cover Image
Nocturna Cover Image
Buffalo Noir (Akashic Noir) Cover Image
Circe Cover Image
Underland: A Deep Time Journey Cover Image
An American Sunrise: Poems Cover Image
Julián Is a Mermaid Cover Image
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Three Books to Chill Your Bones: All 3 Scary Stories Books with the Original Art! Cover Image
Give Me Some Truth Cover Image
The Murder Book (Cold Case Investigation #2) Cover Image
Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO Cover Image
Happiness, as Such Cover Image
The King of Halloween and Miss Firecracker Queen: A Daughter's Tale of Family and Football Cover Image
Liminal Dreaming: Exploring Consciousness at the Edges of Sleep Cover Image
Purge Cover Image
They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us Cover Image