Books & Books closes its chapter on Lincoln Road

Owner Mitchell Kaplan said Lincoln Road store was the independent bookstore’s most expensive location

Mitchell Kaplan and Books & Books at 927 Lincoln Road (Google Maps) 
Mitchell Kaplan and Books & Books at 927 Lincoln Road (Twitter, Google Maps)

Books & Books, Miami’s most well-known independent bookstore, closed its Lincoln Road store for good after more than 30 years on the iconic Miami Beach street.

Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan confirmed to The Real Deal that the store at 927 Lincoln Road is not reopening.

“It’s been really a wonderful 30 years of being there, having this kind of front row seat there watching Miami develop,” he said.

Kaplan, a Miami Beach native, said he’ll look for a new location on the beach, but said that rents on Lincoln Road became too high, and the closure brought on by Covid-19 accelerated his decision to shutter the store permanently. High rents have pushed a number of retail and restaurant tenants out of Lincoln Road, with some major retailers now struggling to pay their bills. Steve Madden chose not to renew its lease at 663 Lincoln Road, and Kiehl’s closed its location at 540 Lincoln Road permanently.

“Rents are too high and they’ve been too high for a long time. … Even some of the big box stores are going to find it very, very difficult to stay at the rent structures that are there now,” Kaplan added.

Books & Books moved about 10 years ago from a larger space fronting Lincoln Road that Diesel later leased. Customers entered Books & Books by walking through a winding courtyard. The bookstore stopped operating a cafe outside the building about two years ago, Kaplan said.

Books & Books’ landlord at 927 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach real estate investor Sam Herzberg, recently sued to evict Diesel USA and Perry Ellis for failing to pay rent in April and May. Herzberg is planning to build a 144-room hotel addition behind the property.

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Amazon recently announced it would be opening a 5,000-square-foot store at 700 Lincoln Road.

“Locals missed the quirkiness of the street, and locals don’t come too much anymore,” Kaplan said, adding that the lack of tourists due to the pandemic also has hurt business.

Books & Books is keeping its other locations open, including at Bal Harbour Shops – where some of the senior staff from Lincoln Road relocated to – at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami, in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and Pinecrest. Kaplan declined to comment on rent figures, but said the Lincoln Road location was its most expensive.

Diesel, for example, last year agreed to pay $44,018 a month for a 2,800-square-foot ground-floor retail space and a 300-square-foot mezzanine space in the Sterling Building.

Kaplan is optimistic about finding a new home nearby, and said he wants to be part of the city’s growth.

“I want to find the quirkiness of Miami Beach again,” he added.