Julie Bosman’s disheartening NYT look at the dwindling number of Manhattan bookstores is a Dickens of a downer. In this tale of two cities, the best-times scenario has been gradually giving way to a bookworm’s worst nightmare.
The Rizzoli and Bank Street bookstores are scrambling to find new digs; state data shows a 30% drop in NYC bookstore locations between 2000 and 2012. There are also depressing quotes from lifelong New Yorker/author Robert Caro and a book industry big wig:
With the closing of several Barnes & Noble and Borders stores, it is difficult to shop for new books in Midtown, the same neighborhood that houses Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and much of Penguin Random House.
“There are some great bookstores, but there aren’t a lot of them,” said Michael Pietsch, the chief executive of Hachette. “Compared to other cities, New York is no longer a bookstore city.”
Perhaps salvation will come in the form of a one-time Fifth Avenue sweet shingle. Bosman writes that within the book industry, there are “whispers” that publishing houses may open stores in the manner that Doubleday and Scribner once operated. Read her full piece here.