Astoria may get an independent bookstore in 2013

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    Image source: NYDN

    The Daily News reports that an independent bookstore may be coming to Astoria. Lexi Beach, who makes a living managing accounts for a website focusing on digital audio books, wants to open Astoria Bookshop in early 2013. She is confident that the neighborhood will support a bookstore, and believes that this would make many Astoria residents very happy, since there is no bookstore – independent or otherwise – in the neighborhood anymore.

    Seaburn Books, which closed in December 2011, was indeed an independent bookstore, but was not satisfactory for many residents – the main complaints were that the store was disorganized (a petition was even created by concerned neighbors, asking Seaburn to alphabetize and organize their inventory) and lacking in variety. They did a revamp of the store earlier in 2011, neatening up the place and putting in a little cafe, but it wasn’t enough to keep it going. Sam Chekwas, the owner of Seaburn books, said, “the store hadn’t turned a profit in years.” Even the big bookstore chains have had financial problems and have had to close – the shuttering of three Manhattan Borders bookstores in 2011 comes to mind.

    That said, some in the local community make convincing arguments in favor of a bookstore. Mackenzi Farquer, owner of Astoria’s SITE (home to hip gifts for kids), says “Astoria’s rapidly gentrifying. There’s this pocket of Astorians who really want bookstores.” Tim Fredrick, editor of the Newtown Literary journal, believes that a bookstore would be a good thing for local Queens authors. In fact, Lexi Beach is already contacting local authors for author events at the store.

    Can Astoria truly sustain a physical bookstore with the competition that is everywhere in the book industry? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

    We’ll keep an eye on this story.

    Independent bookstore to open in Astoria early next year [NYDN]
    Seaburn Books Closing [astorians.com]

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