As Barnes & Noble shrinks, small bookstores are born

Yesterday, I reported here on a number of literary voices lamenting the store closures announced by the bookstore chain Barnes & Noble.

But perhaps this is a case of: “The bookstore is dead! Long live the bookstore!” The idea of selling books from your own shop is a romantic one, and it’s gripped the otherwise sane mind of many a book lover.

Over in Riverside, one such avid reader recently celebrated her new bookstore’s third month in business. Linda Sherman-Nurick opened the 1,745-square-foot store Cellar Door Books under a vine-filled trellis in Riverside’s Canyon Crest Town Center on Oct. 26. It’s “Riverside’s Independent Bookstore,” as her advertising proudly announces. (There’s a Barnes & Noble in Riverside, but it’s on the other side of town.)

“People are so excited about having a bookstore,” she told me. “It gives them a sense of home, a sense of belonging.”

Sherman-Nurick is a onetime writing teacher at Riverside City College who became a stay-at-home mom after her daughter was born some years back. She went back to teaching briefly, at Norco College, until she decided the time had come to make a long-held dream come true.


Now Cellar Door Books is on a list of 43 new independent bookstores opened in 2012 that was released last month by the American Booksellers Assn.

The other new bookstores on the ABA’s list include one started by a retired professor in South Carolina and another one in Connecticut backed in part by the crowd-funding platform Indiegogo.

“I’m listening to the customers that are walking in the door,” Sherman-Nurick told BookWeb, the ABA’s website. “I think that our customer base is thoughtful, intelligent, and wants to be challenged. And of course, there are some people that want to read something fun and light. I’m playing it as I go, and it seems to be working.”

Sherman-Nurick had a good holiday season. She told me two critically acclaimed nonfiction books were among her bestsellers: Stephen Greenblatt’s tale from the Renaissance “The Swerve,” and Katherine Boo’s “Beyond the Beautiful Forevers,” an account of life among the poorest of the poor in Mumbai.

“And were selling a lot of kids books too,” Sherman-Nurick said.


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