Tag: bookstore

The Owners Didn’t Want The Strand to Be Made into a Landmark. NYC Did It Anyway.

The famous Strand Bookstore has been declared a landmark by New York City, despite the owners; objections.

 

The Strand

Image Via Yelp.com

Located at 828 Broadway, at the corner of East 12th Street in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, the Strand Bookstore is two blocks south of Union Square. Opened in 1927 by Benjamin Bass as a small used bookstore on Fourth Avenue, the store was passed down to Fred, who passed it down to Nancy, the current owner.

 

Interior of The Strand-1

Image Via New York Times

 

The Strand has been around for decades while the rest of New York’s “Book Row” on Broadway and East 12th Street has disappeared and occupies a stunning 55,000 square feet while also employing 238 people. With the company’s slogan reading “18 Miles Of Books”, has been the cream of the crop when it comes to bookstores or book merchandise.

 

Interior of The Strand-2

Image Via Trip Adviser

In fact, The New York Times wrote The Strand “the undisputed king of the city’s independent bookstores”.

 

Nancy Bass-Wyden

Image Via Your Tango

Given its importance, it’s no surprise that city officials decided to grant the store landmark status, but it wasn’t an award in the shop’s owners’ eyesThe New York Post quotes Nancy Bass-Wyden, the owner of the Strand, as saying back in December during a New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission that:

Landmarking our building will only make it that much harder for us to survive and pass our treasured family-owned business to [our] children, and hopefully to theirs.

Her reasoning is quite sound. When a building is given a landmark designation, the owners are then forced to use pricey historic materials when fixing and maintaining buildings, making it extremely difficult, expensive, and time consuming to pay for even the smallest of damages.

 

Interior of The Strand-3

Image Via am New York.com

Now New York has declared the Strand an historical landmark despite objections from the shop owners.

Here’s their official statement made via Twitter.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Metro.us

How Margaret Atwood And Socks May Have Saved Bookstore Chains

With the unstoppable contender of online retailers, bookstore chains have been struggling to stay afloat. Inspiration from writer Margaret Atwood has given an executive an idea that might make a difference.

 

Image result for margaret atwood

Atwood proudly holding a copy of her novel, The Handmaiden’s Tale | Image via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

Heather Reisman, the chief executive of Canada’s largest bookstore chain, Indigo, had reportedly met with The Handmaiden’s Tale‘s novelist, Margaret Atwood for some tea back in 2015. After a long conversation Atwood gave her farewell to Reisman, telling her she planned on relaxing with a good book and some comfy socks.

 

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Heather Reisman | Image via Toronto Star

 

This was where Heather Reisman came up with her idea for a new product, which in 2016 grew into Indigo, a cultural department store for book lovers.

 

It all started with plush “reading socks“, one of Indigo’s signature gift items.

 

Indigo currently has a assortment of these comfy socks, in different color and styles. Perfect for any book reading occasion.

 

 

 

According to the New York Times article, Indigo created a whole line of products for their bookstore in addition to their reading socks. Ironically enough, not many of them have a great deal to do with book reading, but they do help to create a comfortable and happy life for readers.

 

Go on Indigo’s website and you can find products such as fitbits, dinnerware, waterbottles, handcreams, etc. Every book lover ought to take care of their bodies and their homes, no? Of course they sell a whole collection of books and book-related products too.

 

Currently, Indigo operates 85 superstores and 120 small-format stores. “The concept aims to create an experience for customers beyond the book”, Reisman says in a New Jersey article.

 

Indigo’s Storefront in Canada | Image via The Hustle

 

This past Holiday season in the US, Indigo opened it’s first American store in Short Hills, New Jersey.

 

Canadians were responding so well to this evolution of a bookstore into what we call a book lovers’ ‘cultural department store…We felt given the response Canadians were having to it, that we would have the opportunity” to expand into the Northeast.

-Heather Reisman

 

So far the store seems to be the talk of the town and doing exceptionally well.

 

With beloved bookstore chains like Borders and Barnes & Nobles slowly falling to online competition, it’s a relief to see a chain that is on the rise with such a novel idea.

 

 

Featured Images British Council Literature, The Fitty

book tunnel

Do the Environment a Favor and Shop at an Indie Bookstore!

Do you have a favorite bookshop? No, Barnes and Noble doesn’t count. I mean an independent bookshop, small, cosy, possibly family run. Handmade signs and questionable color schemes. Sometimes dogs. The one where you can sit for hours, enjoying your unique surroundings, and forgetting about all your responsibilities and then end up feeling horribly guilty because you’ve neglected every other aspect of your life. You’ve been missing for days. Your family has called the cops. Your plants are withering. You have several hundred unanswered emails. You know, that bookshop.

 

guilty dog

You, feeling guilty | Via Giphy

 

Well, according to Indiebound, your hours spent there are actually very beneficial to the economy, the environment, and your community. So you can stop feeling bad, as the benefits, according to the Indiebound website, are pretty much endless.

 

happy dog

You, delighted that your time-wasting has been justified | Via Gif Finder 

 

In terms of the economy, if you spend $100 at a local-owned business, $68 of that stays in your community. However, if you spent the same amount at a national chain, only $43 will remain in your community. Local businesses also create higher-paying jobs for members of the community, and therefore more taxes are reinvested in the locality. Local businesses also donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains. Indiebound also points out that ‘more independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.’

 

Shopping local also has a positive effect on the environment as it means less packaging, less transportation and therefore a smaller carbon footprint. So you win points with Mother Nature too!

 

happy pizza dog

You, slobbering happily all over the news that your indie bookshop obsession is good for the economy, environment and community | Via Tenor

 

 

That’s all on top of the fact that local bookshops tend to put on wonderful, intimate author events such as Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, who host talks and readings every week! So make sure to follow any and all of your favorite indie spots on social media to keep up to date with what they’re up to!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Publishing Perspectives

Penn Book Center Is Closing Its Doors In May

Another long-standing independent bookstore is about shut down for good.

 

Penn Book Center, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will be closing its doors after almost 60 years in business. The owners of the store released a statement announcing the closing, blaming the rise of online book sales as the reason for the closure.

 


Founded in 1962, Penn Book Center became popular amongst the University of Philadelphia crowd, especially for its selection of hard-to-find reads. The bookstore went through some major changes over the years, moving away from selling textbooks in favor of a more general bookstore feel. The bookstore began hosting events such as book clubs and meetings with famous authors. Unfortunately, it seems like this new business model didn’t generate enough of a profit.

 

Image Via Billy Penn

 

Image Via Philly.com

 

It’s always sad to see another independent bookstore fall at the hands of online sales. Here’s hoping not many more suffer the same fate.

 

 

Featured Image Via Literary Hub

Authors Join Waterstones Staff In Living Wage Fight

Staff of Waterstones booksellers, one of the UK’s largest book retailers, recently started a petition directed at Waterstones owner James Daunt, calling for all booksellers to be paid a living wage of £9 an hour, or £10.55 for the Greater London Area. The petition had garnered more than 6,000 signatures and continues to grow. Facing mounting pressure, managing director James Daunt responded by saying that as it stands, Waterstones cannot afford to pay people a living wage because it was “frankly not profitable enough”.

 

James Daunt. Image Via This Is Money

 

However, Waterstones staff have some powerful allies in the form of authors. More than 1300 writers across various genres are now joining an open letter to Daunt in support of the staff petition. Some big names include Kerry Hudson (Thirst), Holly Seddon (Try Not To Breathe), and Jackie Kay (Darling: New And Selected Poems) among others.

The letter states:

“As authors we recognize the vital role Booksellers play in our literary culture and industry. Their skill, expertise and passion are a true asset and this deserves to be acknowledged both through public recognition and financial remuneration. We also recognize the huge amount of work and stress that goes into being the frontline to Waterstones business. We hope you will consider offering your Booksellers the financial recognition deserving of their skill, passion, expertise and hard work.”

 

Kerry Hudson. Image Via East End Review

 

In an interview with The Guardian, Hudson stated that she was not surprised that so many writers joined in the letter:

 

“It’s not easy to stand up and ask for something like that and we wanted to add our voices to their courageous stand.”

 

Time will tell if this letter helps the staff in their fight.

 

 

Featured Image Via The Bookseller