Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Two New Indy Bookstores in Astoria, NY Neighborhood

Just about nine months after the news that Astoria's only independent bookstore was closing, there is now word of TWO new bookshops in the hood: one specifically for kid-lit--and already open--and one coming soon for more mainstream adult titles.

According to the Daily News, The Story Nook opened this past February to offer children's literature to local kiddies. While I'm very excited that this occurred, it's surprising that this is the first I've heard of it. Sounds like The Story Nook needs some publicity help---so GO TO THE STORY NOOK.

Now that that's been dealt with, here's more from the Daily News on the upcoming Book Shop:

The borough’s only independent bookstore that sells mainstream titles is slated to open in Astoria early next year, much to the delight of local book lovers.

Despite a tough economy and a bruising market for book sellers, Lexi Beach said she plans to go ahead with plans for the Astoria Bookshop.

Beach, 31, who manages accounts for a website that sells digital audio books, is already arranging author events in the community to build awareness — and anticipation — for the shop.

“I’m confident that a good portion of the community will be very excited about having a place to buy books locally,” said Beach, who is raising funds for the shop.

“Obviously, anyone with a computer or smartphone can buy books online,” said Beach, who plans to host community events in the space. “But there’s something about a bookstore, a physical place to go and browse books, that is special.”

She began mulling the venture after hearing from friends of the need in the neighborhood following the closing of Seaburn Bookstore in December.

The longtime Astoria store hadn’t turned a profit in years, owner Sam Chekwas previously told the Daily News. A much smaller version of the shop was relocated to a Long Island City warehouse where he has a book publishing business.

Tim Fredrick, editor of the Newtown Literary, a journal that will feature the words of borough authors, said Beach’s store will be a boon to local authors.

Beach “is very interested in promoting Queens authors and Queens writing,” he said. “It’s really a shame to have to go to another borough to buy books.”

Mackenzi Farquer, owner of SITE NYC, an Astoria boutique, said most of the 100 participants of a survey she recently conducted said they wanted to see a bookstore in the neighborhood.

“Astoria’s rapidly gentrifying,” she said. “There’s this pocket of Astorians who really want bookstores.”
The community may soon also have a children’s bookstore.

Faye Skandalakis opened The Story Nook in February in a small section of babyNOIR, a kids boutique, on 23rd Ave.

“I’m hoping within a year or so to open a brick and mortar children’s bookstore,” she said.

Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, said he’s starting to see “modest growth” in the number of bookstores nationally “after many years of decline.”

The demand is a product of the closure of the chain book retailer Borders, consumers desire to shop locally and lower technology costs, he said.

But small bookstores still face a host of challenges — including the rise of e-book readers and online retailers, such as, that can offer rock-bottom prices.

“Being able to compete in a market where anyone can sit at their computer screen and have access to any title in print, that certainly represents a challenge,” Teicher said.

See the original post HERE

I'm excited to hear about these new shops and my fingers are crossed that they are able to survive the brutal market that has flooded the publishing world. I too have considered opening my bookstore again--a dream of mine since I was a kid--but the market scares me away. But I guess it's true that it's all about location, location, location. And if Astorians want their bookstores, give 'em some!

I, for one, can't wait. Thanks for being brave Lexi and Faye!


  1. While I do enjoy the frozen yogurt place that has taken over the old bookstore space, I'm definitely glad to have some bookstores back in Astoria!

    Also, it kind of says a lot about 2012 that the neighborhood indy bookstore was replaced by a "hip" new dessert bar... #justsaying

  2. I was born in Astoria. I remember Steinway Ave. and St. Joseph's. Now when I visit my aunt in Manhattan, I head straight for the Strand Bookstore. Glad to hear Queens has their Indies.

  3. Where is the new bookshop going to be?