The corner of Smith and Butler Streets was packed with people. A reader sat down on the steps to peel open his newest find. It was the type of traffic that the Cobble Hill neighborhood was more than happy to boast about as Books Are Magic was already humming with page turners.
Launched by owners Emma and Michael Fusco-Straub, the striking, new independent bookstore welcomed in curious neighbors and book fans a few days earlier than their planned May 1 opening date with a soft launch on Saturday, April 29 to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day.
While the cashier lines were long, not one customer seemed concerned with the wait. The energy of the well-designed space at 225 Smith Street was about celebrating the presence of a new neighborhood bookstore that promises to be a gathering space stocked with local and international authors, and a venue which will welcome an array of guest authors and book signings.
Last October, BookCourt owners Mary Gannett and Henry Zook announced they’d be shuttering their 35-year-old independent bookstore on December 31, 2016. That news was met with chagrin, sadness, and choice words by faithful patrons of the well-stocked literary mecca, formerly located at 163 Court Street (between Dean and Pacific Streets).
“A neighborhood without an independent bookstore is a body without a heart,” wrote Straub, who once worked at BookCourt. “And so we’re building a new heart.”
The bright, refreshing space also includes a second room that houses an impressive collection of children’s books.
Customers were already getting comfortable as two young readers cuddled up in an octagonal reading nook in the back. The nearby comfy couch, according to Domino, comes straight from the office of Emma Straub’s father.
The airy design of the space, both crisp and warm, was done by Matthew Mady, Emma Straub’s college friend.
Beginning May 9, the store will kick off their events series with J. Courtney Sullivan. Almost 40 other events have been added to the calendar, including a Paperback Release Party for Emma Straub’s book Modern Lovers.
You can also mark your calendars for a visit by Michael Chabon this fall on September 26.
Books Are Magic
Where: 225 Smith Street (at Butler Street)
Hours: Mondays-Fridays, 10am-9pm; Saturdays, 9am-9pm; Sundays, 9am-7pm