“Pop Up” Bookstore To Become Permanent?

The surprising longevity of a Washington Heights bookstore that was originally intended to exist only for a month has book lovers laughing in the face of e-readers and Amazon. The Word Up bookstore began as a project through the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA), but its popularity forecasts a promising future as a semi-permanent store.

Word Up has hosted dozens of events, including “parties, book readings, poetry slams [and] dance and musical performances put together by local volunteers” (dnainfo.com). The live events, as well as the store’s Community Supported Bookshop (CSB) program, have made it stand out.

CSB allows patrons to buy a share of the store for $20 and receive six used books in return.

At a time when even large chain bookstores struggle to compete against online retailers such as Amazon, this community-based model of bookselling may be the key to the future of print books. This holiday season was the most profitable in several years for many indie booksellers, indicating that former Borders customers may turn to small stores to fill their book buying needs.

Recent animosity against Amazon’s predatory competition practices may also be a factor, as informed shoppers make an effort to buy local and support their communities.

I am a huge believer in supporting independent bookstores, even though the closest one is half an hour away from my house. I always go there to buy my books. The cost of gas and slightly higher book prices are worth it for the quality shopping experience and the knowledge that I am helping to support people who genuinely love books.

Do you support independent bookstores? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Photo credit: matt.davis

56 comments

Loreen S.
Loreen S.3 years ago

I too patronize a local bookstore. It is far more personal and the manager is very knowledgeable of everything that The Book Shelf contains. If they do not have it on the shelf - they will order it for you.

Zana Zatanique
Jan Alexanian4 years ago

I love this concept of book store. Wish we had one here.

timothy m.
timothy m.4 years ago

Why buy a book at Amazon?

Using a typical Amazon discount of 40%, do a simple comparison. A book that retails for $30 would cost about $33 at your lovely local bookstore. From Amazon, if you buy that book together with another one to hit their threshold, it would cost 18.00 (no tax, free shipping).

Hey, if I were a big-buck lawyer or something, I'd pay the extra 15.00 - that's an 83% surcharge - to patronize the mom & pop store. But I don't make the kind of money to throw away 15 bucks on every book I buy.

Sorry, local bookstore!

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.4 years ago

Why would you buy a book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble? Amazon is not always the best buy and on top of that you pay freight and have to wait for your book. With Barnes and Noble they just think people are stupid and I guess some are because they charge you a membership fee to get their discounts. They are not friendly at all and it is usually to noisy to really enjoy your time there.

I will travel I don't care how many miles to shop at a comfortable, clean and friendly bookstore. There really are very few places as relaxing as a bookstore.

Anne B.
Anne B.4 years ago

I use a local independent bookstore, even though it is not close to my home. I, too, love getting into a good book using all my senses, not just interfacing with a screen an a button for on/off! I see ebooks gaining in popularity not only with young readers, but my 60+ generation-but I hope real books will not entirely disappear during my lifetime...

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.4 years ago

thank you

Marie W.
Marie W.4 years ago

Love them.

Kate R.
Kathleen R.4 years ago

interesting

Tom Sullivan
Tom C Sullivan4 years ago

Love them, love all indies. Against corp. america, have been since the 60's

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

I love independent book stores, thrift shops, antique stores, the works. But mostly the book stores, since I LOVE to read. My son also loves books (he is almost two) and as long as I have a say in it, this house will be filled with books