Although travel bookstores have endured significant challenges as more and more people plan their trips online, five-year-old Idlewild Books in New York City near Union Square has taken off. “Business is very good,” said owner David Del Vecchio. So good that two years ago he expanded the bookstore by opening a 600 sq. ft. store in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. On January 18, Idlewild will grow again with the opening of a 1,200 sq. ft. store in Brooklyn, in the Bedford Mini-Mall in Williamsburg.
“Travel sales have definitely declined since we opened five years ago, but it’s stable,” says Del Vecchio. “In this day and age, bookstores can’t survive just on books.” In Idlewild’s case, he has bolstered travel book sales with the addition of language classes, primarily in French, Italian, and Spanish, and foreign language literature.
Del Vecchio chose Williamsburg after reviewing where students at its courses live. The Williamsburg store will have two classrooms and carry a varied selection of travel-related products: maps, notebooks, and prints. In addition, he is planning to stock many unique items made by artists who live in Williamsburg.