March 25th marks a sad day for physical bookstore enthusiasts. Boston’s Schoenhof Foreign Books will close its only location, located in Harvard Square, after nearly 161 years of operations. Sad!
Since Schoenhof’s is located a short distance away from Harvard Universty, the bookstore has been a longstanding resource for writers and translators alike. The shelves have been stocked with famed authors such as T.S. Eliot, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov among others. Schoenhof’s hosts over 32,000 titles in over 160 languages. Basically, it’s been the bibliophile’s Mecca since 1856.
“Then why in the world is it closing?!” you ask with bated breath. Well, that all comes down to rent costs. Sigh.
Daniel Eastman, Schoenhof’s manager, cited rent increases as a main driver of the shift to online sales. Evidently, according to Publisher’s Weekly, rising rent issues are not a new phenomena plaguing cityside bookstores:
“Schoenhof’s joins a growing list of print retailers that have struggled in the face of rising rents and new development in Harvard Square, which was once home to over a dozen bookstores. In late 2015, Raven Books moved across the Square after being confronted with a 40% hike in rent.
The World’s Only Curious George Store was notified last fall that the building’s owner intends to redevelop the property, which will force the children’s bookstore from its current location. The city’s two newsstands are under threat as well, with one slated to close in the coming weeks after more than half a century in business.”
If you’re in the Boston area, one final trip or two to the physical location is a definite must. One month left before its doors close for good.
We’ll miss you, Schoenhof.
Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia.