Off Main Street Charm With Bookspot of the Week, The Book & Nook!

This week’s featured Bookspot of the Week is Latina-owned The Book & Nook from Warwick, NY. Let’s take a look at this young, unique indie bookstore!

Book Culture Bookspot / Libraries
The Book and Nook features book spot of the week in Warwick NY

The Book & Nook is an independent bookstore in the heart of Warwick, New York. It’s still in its debut year. Owned by Candace Rivera, a former Google employee, this unique bookspot is about representation for the underrepresented and finding yourself on the shelves. We sat down with Candace to discuss all things bookspot and books! Let’s take a look at all she has to say about seeing her bookstore dreams come true.

The Book & Nook

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Thank you for joining us! Let’s start the interview!

How did your bookstore transition from concept to reality?

I dreamt about owning a bookstore for years when I worked in corporate. I was always too afraid to take the chance until I got laid off from Google in 2023. After 10 years of working for Fortune 500 companies, I decided that it was time to move on and make my own dream a reality. I collected most of what I needed for the store over a few months while I was looking for a retail place. After looking at a few locations, I finally found the space we’re in now. When I walked in, I could immediately see how the bookstore would be laid out. I was excited! I signed the lease a few days later and opened the bookstore in a month, thanks to the help of my family.

Ribbon Cutting ceremony for the Book and Nook, Latina owned bookstore in Warwick NY.

What do you feel is unique to your bookstore?

As a Latina-owned bookstore, we want everyone to feel represented on our shelves. Representation is so incredibly powerful. Sharing our stories is, too — it’s ingrained in us as human beings. It helps us to feel understood and less alone, keeps traditions alive, helps us to escape, allows us to imagine, and enables us to connect. That’s why we carry a wide variety of genres and authors.

If you had infinite space, what might you add to the store?

This question excites me. I would add a full bar that also serves coffee and light food. You could enjoy it inside or on the back deck, which overlooks a peaceful lake. I would also add a private event space upstairs for book signings, storytime, festivals, and more. I would also have a team of amazing booksellers!

How do you feel your bookstore fits into your local community?

Unfortunately, the last bookstore in town closed in 2019. When we opened in August 2023, Warwick was sorely missing a bookstore. We want to fill that literary gap in town, and so far, so good. We’re coming quickly to a year, and it feels like we’ve always been here. We hear from customers every day about how happy they are that their town has a bookstore again and how they want us to be successful. Their support means the world to us. It’s also a signal to me that taking this leap was the right choice.

Front window of The Book and Nook with two caribean blue adarondak chairs

What does your store offer that a chain or online retailer can’t?

Our customers are supporting a small business and playing a large role in helping an indie bookstore thrive. Their support isn’t going back to a mega-corporation that may be donating to lobbyists and politicians.

Do you handpick your staff to create a specific environment?

It’s just me! I am the owner, social media manager, event coordinator, buyer, janitor, etc. I work hard to create a personalized experience, ensuring every customer is greeted and welcomed. It makes my day when I can match the perfect book for a customer. It brightens even more when I see kids get excited about getting a book…or knowing that we carry their favorite author. As a mom, it’s just really special to see.

Book shelf at The Book & Nook sharing diverse authors and characters.

How else do you create a welcoming environment?

Now that we’re several months in, I’m starting to remember the favorite genres of some of our customers. It’s fun to give a personalized recommendation to a regular. I want them to feel valued and know that we appreciate their support.

What about your store do you think appeals to your neighborhood?

Warwick is a beautiful town with vibrant small businesses, large orchards, and marquee events that tourists flock to. Our bookstore is located in a small plaza a few minutes away from Main Street; our plaza has small restaurants, a consignment shop, a nail salon, a design studio, a wellness center, and kickboxing. We have it all. It’s easy to spend a lot of time here. I think we’re the perfect addition, especially for those who want to pop in while waiting for their order or are in the mood for some shopping after going to the consignment shop. We also have plenty of customers who are now coming just for us, and we have the pleasure of recommending the other businesses in the plaza.

Rolltop desk at the Book and Nook with a neon sign that says Just one more chapter.

Do you have any staff picks or releases we should watch out for?

  • Onyx Storm…we’re excitedly waiting along with every Fourth Wing fan.
  • Bad Seed: Stories by Gabriel Carle…the author tells vibrant stories about being young and queer in Puerto Rico. As a Puerto Rican myself, I devoured this book.
  • Lies and Weddings by Kevin Kwan…hooked on his writing since Crazy Rich Asians.
  • Children of Anguish and Anarchy by Tomi Adeyemi…such a great fantasy series!

Do you tailor your inventory according to your community?

Absolutely, yes. I get to talk about books every day. It’s the dream! I love learning about what our customers are reading; it’s even better if it’s by an author I haven’t heard of. Booksellers put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be as well-read as possible, but there are so many great books out there that it’s impossible to know them all. Our customers have been a great compass for us on what to double down on and what to scale back on.

Bookshelf at The Book and Nook.

Is there anything else that you’d like our audience to know?

Indie bookstores are bouncing back — fighting back — but they need your help. If you’re lucky enough to have an indie in your town or close by, make sure you show your support, even if it’s buying something small.

What’s your favorite book?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I have read almost all of his books, but this one has been one of my absolute favorites since high school.

Thanks so much to Candace from The Book & Nook for letting us interview her! Be sure to follow her Bookspot on Instagram! In the meantime, head on over to their website and support this indie bookstore by purchasing your next read from them!

Are you an indie bookstore that wants to be featured on Bookstr just like The Book & Nook? Let us know by reaching out to Bookstr on Instagram, Facebook, or X!

Did you miss our last Bookspot of the Week? Click here to learn all about Chicago’s The Last Chapter bookstore.

Browse our Bookshop shelves for TBR inspo here.