Are the bookstores coming back?

A mural and Books are Magic in Brooklyn
A mural and Books are Magic in Brooklyn

New Yorkers have it all — except for bookstores. For years, bookstore after bookstore has closed in a city known for its literary prowess.

For many, the final straw was when local favorite, BookCourt in Brooklyn, closed last year. Now, a group of writers and investors are doing their best to turn the trend against booksellers around.

The bibliophiles are opening three new shops to NYC and they’re hoping more will follow. The opening stores are The Lit. Bar in the South Bronx, Books Are Magic in Brooklyn and Forest Bookshop (they say this name may change) in Queens. All are set to open by the end of the year, according to the New York Post.

“We live in the neighborhood, and couldn’t bear the idea of not having a bookstore,” novelist Emma Straub, told the Post. Straub is opening Books are Magic May 1 at 225 Smith St., just a few blocks from the old BookCourt.

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Two established city bookstores are hopping aboard the trend and opening additional shops. Greenlight Bookstore opened its second Brooklyn shop last year, and WORD expanded its children’s section into a new space next to its Greenpoint shop.

“The challenges are enormous,” Oren Teicher, CEO of American Booksellers Association, told the Post. He noted that in France and Germany bookstores are protected by a ban on Amazon-style deep discounting. “They think [bookstores are] an important part of the cultural heritage and mission of the city.” [NYP]Christopher Cameron