For a long while Barnes & Noble was villain number one in the eyes of indie bookstore owners, the poster child for soulless, homogenizing box stores (they even made a movie about it!)—but that was 25 years ago. These days, having any kind of physical space wherein people can wander around and look at books seems like a good thing.
So it’s not quite as much fun to point out the poetic justice of this Saturday’s opening of Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston, Illinois, just a tote bag’s throw away from a recently closed Barnes & Noble. This will be the second branch of owner Nina Barrett’s popular indie—which enjoyed its strongest holiday sales ever, despite the pandemic—and the irony is not lost on her. As Barrett told PRNewswire:
We’re still doing what the fictional owner of The Shop Around the Corner was doing so beautifully in that movie 22 years ago. Reading stories to kids. Launching local authors’ books. Handing our customers books we know they’ll love, because we know both the books and the customers.
Really looking forward to Multiple People Typing, which will star Emma Stone as a plucky young indie bookstore owner who takes over an abandoned Barnes & Noble and fills it with New Direction titles and rescue dogs!