The behemoth/warehouse styles of book stores are definitely having problems competing with Amazon, but my neighborhood indicates that there’s still room for the curated, personalized book store. This one is expected to open this week.
Shakespeare & Co. bookstore is coming back to the Upper West Side, setting up shop at 2020 Broadway between 69th and 70th Street, in the space previously occupied by Albertina’s Fine Foods, and before that by Tani Shoes. The company just put its name on the windows, with a “coming soon” logo. They previously told us they expect to open in the fourth quarter of this year.
It’s a homecoming for the store, which closed its location on 81st Street in 1996 amid competition from Barnes & Noble. The store has been bought by a holding company with a new strategy. It has a location on the East Side next to Hunter College. Here are a few things to expect:
The new Shakespeare & Co. will have a cafe, which has won high praise from some people, though some say it’s expensive. “There is a little crafts area in the back for kids, a cafeteria where you can sip coffee and have a sandwich, sit near the windows and enjoy the views or chomp down the beat tasting almond croissants overflowing with filling (the main reason I keep coming back.),” wrote one Yelper. The cafe will have free wi-fi.
The store will be about 3,000 square feet, with fiction, nonfiction and children’s sections. It will also have an “Espresso Book Machine”, which can literally print books while you wait. There are about 7 million titles the machines can print, most of them in the public domain. It will be interesting to see if people purchase those books when they can get many public domain books on their Kindles or other e-readers for free. (The experience of reading a printed book is very different of course.)
The store can also print authors’ books while they wait, so if you have a novel or poetry book that never got published, it can be printed right in the store. A 150-page book costs $15 to print, the store’s website says.
Shakespeare & Co. can also personalize children’s books, where children can insert their name and picture in a book.