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New York Minute


I spent a lot of my teenage years slumming around used bookstores in New York, especially on the Upper West Side. But Manhattan is no longer a place for bookstores of any kind.

Julie Bosman has the depressing details in the Times:

When Sarah McNally, the owner of McNally Jackson bookstore in Lower Manhattan, set out to open a second location, she went to a neighborhood with a sterling literary reputation, the home turf of writers from Edgar Allan Poe to Nora Ephron: the Upper West Side.

She was stopped by the skyscraper-high rents.

“They were unsustainable,” Ms. McNally said. “Small spaces for $40,000 or more each month. It was so disheartening.”

Rising rents in Manhattan have forced out many retailers, from pizza joints to flower shops. But the rapidly escalating cost of doing business there is also driving out bookstores, threatening the city’s sense of self as the center of the literary universe, the home of the publishing industry and a place that lures and nurtures authors and avid readers.

“Sometimes I feel as if I’m working in a field that’s disappearing right under my feet,” said the biographer and historian Robert Caro, who is a lifelong New Yorker.

[Photo Via: Afar.com]

Categories:  New York City Pictures  New York Minute  NYC

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1 YankeeAbby   ~  Mar 26, 2014 1:13 pm

It's kind of depressing. My company that I work for does business with The Strand and I even wonder sometimes how a place like that still manages to stay afloat.

I also work part time for an independent book seller and the company I work for sells books at events outside the normal B&N type places, like at museums, churches, even bars & restaurants. Depending on the topic, I find that people will either just peruse the book but not buy, or ask if it's available on Kindle. Sometimes, we hit a literary windfall though and will sell a ton.

People do still love their books, yet at the same time, they want them digitally as well. I can't go Kindle - I still love the feel of a book in my hands. But that's just me...

2 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Mar 26, 2014 2:30 pm

not just you. An e reader might be fine for an airplane, but I need a book on the couch.

3 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 26, 2014 3:55 pm

Yeah, I still read books. I guess the Stand has stayed around in part because they sell t-shirts and gear. Maybe it's that they are more of a tourist stop now. That, or their lease just isn't up yet.

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