Although Barbara’s Bestsellers closed its 417 sq. ft. bookstore in Boston’s South Station last April to make way for a Starbucks, it is coming back. Late last week owner Don Barliant signed a lease for a 300 sq. ft. store that will open in December. But even before the new store is ready, Barliant plans to set up a book cart near where the bookstore will be located, closer to the gates. The cart is already built and should be open for business by the end of next week
“I felt the need to help our customers as quickly as possible,” Barliant told PW. “[Barbara’s] didn’t close after 20 years because it wasn’t selling books. We were successful. When we closed there was a lot of grumbling.” He attributes the station’s willingness to have Barbara’s return to complaints from both customers and suppliers, who wanted the bookstore to stay.
Today also marks the return of a bookstore to north Portland, Maine, but only after a number of years have passed. Letterpress Books is opening in Northgate Plaza, several doors down from where Bookland of Maine had a store 13 years ago. The grand opening of the 864 sq. ft. bookstore, owned and managed by long-time Maine bookseller Katherine Osborne, most recently a buyer at Kennebooks in Kennebunk, and her parents, John Paul Bakshoian and Karen Bakshoian, will be held in November.
“I always knew that this was what I wanted to do,” says Osborne about having a store of her own. Although an Indiegogo campaign that ended on September 29 fell short of her goal, Osborne says that the more than $4,000 raised will still help cushion the store’s opening. Letterpress is a general independent with new books and will devote a third of its space to children’s. “This is a neighborhood with a lot of families,” says Osborne, who wants to make the store a community center. In addition to books, Letterpress will carry greeting cards, journals, boxed notecards, plush, and educational games. "We're going to feel out the neighborhood and see what they want," says Osborne, who plans to tweak the inventory over the coming months.