It's a time of change at Books of Wonder, the 22-year-old New York City bookstore that specializes in new and antiquarian children's books and original art from children's books. Besides the store, which is in the Chelsea area of Manhattan, Books of Wonder operates a mail-order business, a publishing program and a Web site.
As owner Peter Glassman described it to PW: "Three separate events are adding up." Those events include the departure or impending departure of three employees, including manager and buyer Jennifer Lavonier, who had decided to leave some time ago and will become Maurice Sendak's personal assistant; office manager Chin Hiap, who has gone home to Asia for an indefinite period because of serious illness in his family; and Julie Fogliano, an assistant manager who will soon become a full-time mother.
Not surprisingly, Glassman is looking for a new manager (or someone willing to be trained), a buyer and other help. But beyond that, the departures have emphasized to Glassman that he could use more help than merely replacing the people who are leaving. "This helped clarify a process that's been going on in my head for two years," he said. "The company is a little too large for me to handle on my own. I'm in my 40s now, and I realize I'm not immortal. There's only so much I can do. If something were to happen to me, it would be a crime to stop serving any of the people we serve."
As a result, Glassman, whose life and business partner, James Carey, died almost six years ago, has decided to look for a new business partner. This person "should not be an investor who will put up money and come back later," he emphasized. Rather, the partner would have "management and financial skills that will complement my marketing and buying skills and my knowledge of children's literature."