Just weeks after the start of the new year change is afoot at a number of indie bookstores, including going permanent (Word Up pop-up community bookstore in Washington Heights in New York City), moving (Newtonville Books in Newtonville, Mass.), and expanding (Idlewild Books in New York City).
Last Friday at Winter Institute, Seven Stories editor and Word Up co-founder Veronica Liu announced the news that the seven-month old bookstore will be able to stay in its current digs through the end of May. The landlord signed the lease, which will give the community-backed store a more permanent footing. The store, which is operated as a collective, held its first rent party last month.
But Word Up isn’t the only New York City bookstore with good news. David Del Vecchio owner of three year-old Idlewild Books, which specializes in travel books and literature, just opened a second location in Cobble Hill in Brooklyn. The new store sells foreign-language books and offers classes in French, Spanish, and Italian.
And after a difficult year in which it asked its customers to take memberships, 13-year-old Newtonville Books in Newtonville, Mass., is coming roaring back—in a new location. In April, it will move to nearby Newton Centre, which will enable more customers to get to it more easily. “We feel the role of the independent bookstore is to enliven its community with quality literary programming; but there is a wide swath of book lovers who can’t attend our events because we’re not off the subway system,” wrote co-owner Mary Cotton in an e-mail blast to customers. In addition the store will be changing its product mix. Following experiments with used books and reducing the size of its children’s section, the new location will carry new books only and have more kids titles.
Newtonville is not the only store on the move, Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, Vt., completed its downtown move on Martin Luther King Day. RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, N.H., which has been temporarily closed while it awaits its new space, has a tentative reopening date of February 10—and a grand opening/tenth anniversary celebration in the works.