Interview with Christine conducted via e-mail.How do you think independent bookstores benefit communities in ways that larger chains either cannot or do not?
I think that because indie bookstores tend to be smaller and more intimate, it's easier for people to feel more connected to us. Our customers feel like they are part of the store; we know many of them by name, and they feel welcome. I think that's much harder to find in a large chain store.
Do you fill a particular niche that differentiates you from other independent bookstores in New York City?
We are a neighborhood bookstore, and our neighborhood is Greenpoint. I think every bookstore has its own personality, at least the good ones do, and we reflect the tastes of our neighborhood, which is predominantly young (25-40) and pretty damn smart.
How does the store’s location affect the day-to-day traffic you get or the type of customer who comes in?
We are not on the most trafficked street in Greenpoint. Most people who come into the store are purposely coming out to see us or one of the other retailers or bars on Franklin Street.
How does the community that the store serves extend beyond the neighborhood you're in – or beyond New York City?
Most of our customers are locals. But as our reputation grows and our reach extends, we have more and more people ordering from us online or making the trip to visit us. Again, people who follow us on the internet feel connected to us, and they seem to want to support us however they can.
What kinds of events are most popular in your store and why do you think so?
We try to make our events special experiences that go beyond the traditional author reading. We have a lot of authors in conversation, or musical accompaniment, or other fun things to make the attendees feel like they really were part of something special. Those kinds of events are always our most popular, the ones where people just feel like they need to be there and be part of it or they will be missing out on somethign great.
Has the popularity of ebooks influenced your strategy either for events planning or for bookselling in general?
We sell Google ebooks on our site. For customers who want to eread they are usually pretty happy that they can support us while doing so. I dont think we have changed our strategies much in regards to ebooks.
Are there any authors who have become friends/supporters of the store in the years since you opened or whose career you have been influential in helping along?
Some of our other amazing author friends include Emma Straub, Peter Brown, Haley Tanner, Jami Attenberg, Lev Grossman, Simon Van Booy, Josh Ritter, and Michelle Knudsen.
Do you see the role that independent bookstores play as community spaces changing in the next few years? If so, how?
I think that people who like books like hanging around with other people who like books. I think that will continue and that indie bookstores will allow them that opportunity.