Thursday, May 5, 2011

Atlantic Book Shop

*Update: Gothamist followed up on this story and got word to Marty Markowitz who said, "It’s unfortunate any time Brooklyn—the literary epicenter of New York City and home to the renowned Brooklyn Book Festival—loses one of its indie book stores or any of its ‘mom and pop’ businesses." They are open to discussing the possibility of assisting Atlantic Books.


VANISHING

In yet another blow for the city's used bookshop business and bibliophiles, Carol Gardens reports on her Facebook page: "Atlantic Books...is going out of business! 30 percent off everything. They will be there until the end of the month."



The Atlantic Book Shop is the second incarnation of 12th Street Books, which you may recall left Manhattan in the summer of 2008 when its lease was not renewed so that neighbor Strip House, a steakhouse chain restaurant, could expand.

It was a favorite stop of mine, and I was upset to see it go, but it happily reopened as Atlantic Book Shop in the fall of that year in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.


Atlantic Bookshop

Three years later and there has been no expansion into the former 12th Street Books--the shop's old space between University and Fifth Avenue remains dark and empty. It's a black hole, a blight, a waste.

Atlantic Books has no plans to try for shop #3.


12th Street Books today

See Also:
12th Street Books
Books to Wax

11 comments:

Alison said...

I saw that last week -- very sad. I live further down Atlantic Avenue, and it has been hit HARD this year. Especially past Court Street, there just isn't very much foot traffic.

I didn't know the story behind the move. A pox on all of the greedy landlords -- you are ruining this city!

elizabethwillse.com said...

I hate myself for having two responses to this... one, to grieve the loss of yet another independent used bookstore. And the second response is to perk up and think "Hey! Book sale!" I feel like some kind of carrion bird for going to visit this store for the first time, in its final days.

Jeremiah Moss said...

eliz, both feelings are appropriate.

Marty Wombacher said...

That last picture is pretty sad. Enjoy reading your iPads everyone.

Bowery Boogie said...

bookstores and record shops...a thing of the past.

thanks, iTunes.

Ed said...

There were actually four independent bookstores nearby, Atlantic Books on Atlantic Avenue, plus two bookstores on Smith Street that had relocated there at different times from Montague Street, after being forced out of Brooklyn Heights by rising rents. The fourth is Bookcourt on Court Street. There was speculation that this part of Brooklyn would become a new destination for booklovers.

Bookcourt at least is still going strong, and so is Community Books on Smith Street, though in the latter case it has to be said that the store itself has become so disorganized as to be almost unusable. The other two stores have closed this year. Three of the four were essentially relocations from higher rent parts of the city.

I think this is more evidence that no, the "old" New York will not be preserved in brownstone Brooklyn, since the same high rents that have been choking the life out of Manhattan are just spreading there.

But the issue here could just be the death of the bookstore in general, in the future everyone will buy books online, maybe downloaded to an electronic device. I think this is a case of technology marching backwards. The printed book sold in a physical store was a great technology, reasonably cheap, portable, comfortable to read, and you could go to the store to browse. There was no real reason to improve it. The download-books-onto-an-electronic device is much better for storage, almost as portable (though not as robust), and OK on cheapness and being easy to read. But there is no ability to browse and all your purchases get tracked, which I think outweighs these factors.

lRS said...

#1 the brooklyn "book district" will move round. as rents get higher there are other areas. people will move as well. maybe the chinese area. #2) landlords prefer a "black hole" to bookstore? #3) electronic devices are not a substitute for paper books. i never finish what i begin reading on the computer as its draining, hard o the eyes & i hate fxxcing electronic devices. we still have strand books. & we can order on the internet. but i prefer to see the book for real. as i have a better sense of what i am buying. the USA is now the third world. NYC is 3rd world & those who go to sports bars/mals. why do you need book stores?

Leah said...

I loved this bookstore, and was in there all the time. So sad, dang it.

Jeremiah Moss said...

just added this update: Gothamist followed up on this story and got word to Marty Markowitz who said, "It’s unfortunate any time Brooklyn—the literary epicenter of New York City and home to the renowned Brooklyn Book Festival—loses one of its indie book stores or any of its ‘mom and pop’ businesses." They are open to discussing the possibility of assisting Atlantic Books.

Brian said...

Very sorry to read this (but like Elizabeth, also mindful of the chance to buy more books than I have room for at a steep discount).

As for the why: is it because we're reading books electronically now, or because we're just reading books less frequently?

Anonymous said...

The death of printed books and real bookstores is a terrible thing on balance, but what makes you think this is exclusively a US thing. (As pathetic and stupid as the US is.) Been to South Korea lately? EVERY tyro under the age of 35 (and many over that age) have a smartphone permanently welded to one of their limbs and hence take it anywhere and everywhere. No setting is sacred. This is the world-historic triumph of inane info-capitalism, folks. All people and places that can afford it (and many that can't) are eagerly integrating into it...