Close up picture of the above condo ad

Corner bookstore, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

See even the developers of the new condos in Columbia Heights envision a bookstore. Now we just need to make it from a vision to a reality. Any ideas on how to make that happen?

8 Comment

  • I like a bookstore as much or more than the next person; I used to spend so much time in them that I went into the business. I didn’t own my own shop, but I rented space in several places.

    I did not have anything like a full-service bookstore, but I tried to have a variety of books, categorized by topic and alphabetized so people could at least tell if a book they wanted was there.

    The trouble is that even to keep a modest thing like that going, where I did not have to worry about staffing the place, I needed a lot more inventory than I could sell, and I had enough rent to pay that I was lucky to break even.

    Now I just sell on the net; no need to have extra inventory, much lower expenses. I regret that I have joined the competition that makes it ever harder for an independent bookshop to survive, but with or without me, it’s near impossible to run a neighborhood bookstore.

    A developer may lead us on with the suggestion of a bookstore, but they can’t order someone to come in and run an unprofitable business. And mush as neighborhood people would like a say in what comes in, the most they can hope for is veto power.

  • Thank Rich. Damn, that was a cold dose of reality. What about a Borders or Barnes and Nobles? Seems like it would fit nicely with the Target, etc. I’m siked about the Target for the record.

  • it’s going to be a madhouse when that target opens….but i’m looking forward to it too.

  • B&N and Borders are certainly a different kind of animal from that proverbial “Corner Bookstore” in the ad. Still, fun to browse through, and maybe have a cup of coffee. They are obviously economically feasible.

    Speaking of coffee, maybe the closest thing to the old-fashioned bookstore is the cafe/bookstore, like Kramerbooks & Afterwords or Busboys & Poets. Is there space available next to Domku or Temperance Hall?

  • There is plenty of room/potential on Upshur St., near Domku. Make it happen Rich!

  • Or how about on 11th street?

  • rich — yes, there are plenty of storefronts available near Temperence Hall. Not sure the usual rent cost per sq foot.

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