NY Mag made note of The Strand Bookstore's birthday over the weekend. The shop, which boasts 18 miles of books, turned 80 on June 2nd, proving it's a mainstay even amongst the Barnes and Noble and Borders book stores popping up around town.

The store was founded by Ben Bass on what was known as Book Row, which at the time housed 48 bookstores. Today it's run by Fred and Nancy Bass. When asked how the business changed over the past 80 years and if people are still as literary as they once were, Fred Bass answered:

I think they are more so. We’re a very educated country. When TV came in we thought the book business would die. That wasn’t so; the things that appeared on TV started to stimulate the book business. Look at the Ken Burns series on the Civil War — suddenly there was a boom in the book business every time something appeared on TV. Now we’re being challenged with the computer and Internet. But the computer is an incredible help to us. Twenty or so percent of our sales are online now. So far today we’ve had 905 books ordered online, and it’s noon. People like to handle and see books, no matter how much material you put online. They want the experience of coming into the store. Plus it’s a great place to pick someone up.

Who has clocked in over the years? With over 200 employees, the store gave jobs long ago to Patti Smith and Tom Verlaine. And hiding away in the safe is a $40,000 copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses signed by Joyce and Matisse, who did the illustration. A bargain compared to the 1632 published William Shakespeare Second Folio purchased for $100K by an anonymous buyer last year from the store's rare book list.

Photo via ED209uk's Flickr.