Independent bookstores have had their share of bumps in the road to resurgence, what with constant, ominous promises of ‘the death of the publishing industry’ and ‘the end of print media.’ While many of these claims are false, it’s true that some bookstores are in jeopardy. The latest shop to feel the heat is Penn Book Center in Pennsylvania.
WHYY reports that English professor Chi-Ming Yang has created an online petition to save the beloved bookstore after it was expected to close in May due to diminished sales.
“Instead of writing a letter of thank you to the bookstore owners for all of their service, I thought, it’s not over til it’s over,” Yang explains.
Image via WHYY
The petition calls for University of Pennsylvania, which owns the 50-year-old building that houses the store, to provide a financial boost.
This past week, Penn Book Center supporters have been marching daily from the campus to the bookstore just a block away. They’ve been rallying, sharing why the bookstore is important to them, and reminiscing about the books they’ve purchased.
Image via WHYY
Yang herself describes browsing through an independent bookstore as a “mini-education:”
It’s not unlike being in the stacks of a library where the physicality of the spine of the book moves you to pick it up and where your eyes kind of travel to other books that you might not have ever considered. It opens up different vistas.
The petition has collected over 4,700 signatures so far, and is only moments away from its goal of 5,000.
It’s always sad when a bookstore announces its closing, but it’s even sadder when that bookstore has been dubbed “the last used bookstore on the Upper West Side.”
Westsider Rare & Used Books, located at 2246 Broadway between 80th and 81st Street in New York City, announced today that it would be officially closing for good. The announcement was made on the company’s Facebook page along with a 30% off “Everything Must Go” sale.
Image Via Shopikon
The store’s current owner, Dorian Thornley, said that the store would most likely close at the end of February and that declining sales and competition from other sellers are the reason for the closure.
“We just can’t make it anymore. It’s the end of an era.”
Westsider Books has become a staple of the NYC bookstore scene since it opened in 1984. The store also sells used CDs, DVDs, and old records, with one of the employees saying that “You could get a lot of things here you couldn’t get elsewhere, and at a lower price.” Westsider has also been featured in three movies: Woody Allen’s Fading Gigolo, Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, and most recently the Melissa McCarthy drama Can You Ever Forgive Me?.
Make sure you stop on by and pick up some good reads before it’s too late.
McNally Jackson Books is here to stay! The Little Italy bookstore was almost forced out due to rent increases and was expected to move to a new location in June. Fortunately, plans have changed.
A leasing banner was hung from McNally Jackson’s entrance only three months ago and it looked as though the bookstore’s fourteen-year-long stay was coming to an end. It was just last week that customers learned of the store’s new plans to remain at its Prince Street location. Bowery Boogie even confirmed the news with an employee.
Image via McNally Jackson Books
Sarah McNally originally opened the store in 2004 as part of her family’s McNally Robinson chain. It later became an independent shop when she partnered with her husband and now has a cafe and in-house printing press among its many attractions.