Any Book Can Be a Rare Book in Bookstore-Hungry Newark
The dirth of bookstores downtown is just one more reason why Newarkers leave the city to open their wallets. It’s true, Newark needs a fixture like this to build community. Apart from walking the streets, there are very few places that I get to bump into my neighbors.
It’s good to see Booker pushing this one as if it were a pillar of his administration. I hope that entrepreneurs are this as an opportunity — if you build it, we will come. A university partnership could be helpful, here, but I don’t agree with some ideas offered here that one should be built into one of the campus silos. Inviting students downtown would be a better way to generate revenue for surrounding businesses.
Newark is a place that makes it difficult to browse rows of best sellers, to hear authors read their work, or to talk literature with a storekeeper who knows books.
The city’s biggest general-interest bookstore, New Jersey Books, closes at 4 p.m. on weekdays. Some of the best-stocked shelves are hidden in airport kiosks, past the security gate (and requiring a boarding pass).
“Newark needs bookstores,” said Mayor Cory A. Booker, an avid reader who has tried, so far in vain, to bring a large Barnes & Noble to the city. “It’s a gathering place. They’re community-fixers.”
The city has plenty of readers; its library system’s 10 branches drew more than a million visitors last year. And in Dr. Miller’s study of literate cities, which considered factors like education, Internet use and local publications, Newark ranked 49th of 69 over all, helped by the library’s popularity and the circulation of the city’s daily newspaper, The Star-Ledger.