When Book Culture, which has two stores in the Morningside Heights section of New York City, told PW earlier this summer that it would be opening a third location, president Chris Doeblin was reluctant to name his investor. On Monday, Harper’s Magazine solved the mystery by announcing that its publisher, John “Rick” MacArthur, is getting into the bookselling business as a minority partner in the new store.
Although Doeblin doesn’t know MacArthur personally, the bookseller targeted him because he had long been impressed by MacArthur’s staunch advocacy for ensuring writers are paid. “A year ago, about the same time I started looking for space, I wrote to a lot of people asking for support,” Doeblin told PW.
Not everyone responded to Doeblin’s outreach. But MacArthur, who, like Doeblin, lives on the Upper West Side, did respond. MacArthur realized quickly that Doeblin's interests overlapped with his own. “It’s a logical alliance,” noted MacArthur, in a release about the partnership. “The Harper’s mission is in line with that of independent publishers and bookstores. Our common cause is to protect the integrity of freedom of thought.”
For Doeblin, who wants to see the store (located at at 450 Columbia Avenue) continually hosting literary events, the synergy between bookstore and magazine could really pay off. Columbus Avenue will be the site of issue launches for Harper’s, and the store will also host discussions and readings with the magazine's writers, many of whom, like MacArthur, have also written books.
Although the grand opening of the store won’t take place until tomorrow, December 3, the Columbus Avenue store has been welcomed by the neighborhood since its soft opening, on the day before Thanksgiving. Already, the store has signed up 500 Book Culture members at $49/year.