A new Park Slope bookstore will reverse a book shop exodus that has left the borough’s most famous community of writers and readers with just two places to buy tomes.
DUMBO’s powerHouse Books is planning to open an outpost in a former video rental shop on Eighth Avenue in October — marking the first high-profile bookstore to come to the neighborhood since Barnes and Noble set up shop on Seventh Avenue in 1997.
And the store’s owners say that even in these trying times for booksellers, their less-is-more approach will be a big hit.
“People like bookstores as a destination as opposed to a victual supply station nearby,” said bookseller and Park Slope parent Daniel Power, who opened the original powerHouse Books in 1995 in DUMBO. “We stock less, but make the selection more focused, sometimes whimsical, and let the physical experience of wandering around do its work.”
The arrival of powerHouse won’t be quite as significant as the discovery of the printing press, however any new bookstore is a big deal for lit-lovers in the neighborhood, which once boasted four booksellers on Seventh Avenue alone, but now has just two.
Barnes and Noble’s debut, coupled with rising rents and the advent of the e-book, forced many of the community’s book peddlers out of the neighborhood or out of business — leading some to claim that Park Slope had lost its crown as Brooklyn’s marquee literary neighborhood.
But Ezra Goldstein, co-owner of the Community Bookstore on Seventh Avenue, says the area’s logophiles haven’t left.
“Our business is way up despite Nooks, Kindles, and Amazon,” said Goldstein, who purchased the 41-year-old bookstore in 2010 after it weathered some financial uncertainty. “We now share that literary cachet with many more neighborhoods, but people in Park Slope still love books.”
That’s what powerHouse is banking on — and the owners of the new store hope to cater to the neighborhood’s specific tastes by stocking more young adult, living, style, cooking, and decorating titles than their DUMBO shop.
The bookstore between 11th and 12th streets will even have a section for children under 10 years old and it will host plenty of kid-themed events.
That could be a winning business model in Park Slope, according to novelist and neighborhood mom Amy Sohn.
“Maybe a mom goes in to buy ‘Go the [email protected]# to Sleep’ and walks out with a new Martin Amis book,” said Sohn, who just released “Motherland” — a book about the depraved side of Slope parents. “This is a neighborhood where people want to be able to pretend that they read even if they don’t.”
powerHouse on Eighth (1111 Eighth Ave. between 11th and 12th streets in Park Slope www.powerhouseon8th.com).
Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.