When the Biography Bookshop was pushed out of its longtime location and replaced with a Marc Jacobs bookstore, we were bereft. Luckily, they managed to reopen further east on Bleecker as bookbook. Today is the day Biography shuttered after 25 years. To commemorate the one-year anniversary of that closure, bookbook is having a sale throughout the month of February, with 20% off all books.
I checked in to see how they're doing. Partners Carolyn and Chuck answered some questions about life after Biography.
You've been in your new location for over a year now. How has the transition gone? Have you found you've been able to keep many of your old customers?
Chuck: The transition has gone quite well. We renovated our new space (it looks great), we’re a good fit in the neighborhood (which is very old Village), and most of our clientele has followed us.
How does life at one end of Bleecker compare to the other?
Carolyn: The new store is surrounded by other mom-and-pop stores including some that have been on Bleecker Street since the 1920s (John's Pizza and Faicco's Italian Specialties). Some of our old friends such as Rob from Murray's Cheese and Matt from Matt Umanov Guitars have been on the block for decades. And we have new friends including our next door neighbor, John, from Panoramas, who has the scoop on everything that’s happening on the block. Most of the stores on the other end of Bleecker Street are owned by large corporations such as Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, and Coach.
Have you been to visit Bookmarc? What are your impressions of it?
Carolyn: I did stop into Bookmarc to drop off some business cards. They kept our fixtures and almost everything else. I guess that is a tribute to us. I hope our customers don't get too confused. The people who work there have been very nice about directing our customers to the new location.
Do you miss Magnolia and the Sex & the City tourists?
Chuck: Magnolia and The Sex & The City Tours did help our business, but we do have plenty of tourists at this end of Bleecker Street and we have two great bakeries--Amy’s and Rocco’s (try their French Cannolis).
What are you guys reading right now?
Carolyn: Just Kids by Patti Smith and The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol
Chuck: Survival City: Adventures Among the Ruins of Atomic America by Tom Vanderbilt and The Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry
What's on the bookbook bestseller list these days?
Hardcovers (all hardcovers are always 20% off):
Life by Keith Richards
Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
Autobiography of Mark Twain
Finishing the Hat by Stephen Sondheim
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
Just Kids by Patti Smith
The Fran Lebowitz Reader
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz