By Timothy Gillis
Jack Wyatt knows what he likes at the new Print Bookstore. (photo by Caeli Shadis)
Just in time for the holidays, there’s a new shop in town. Print: A Bookstore has taken up residence in the former Angela Adams building on Congress Street, downstairs from the East End Lofts.
Print is a wide-open, well-lighted place, with wide aisles for strollers and a great children’s book section that will help keep the youngsters occupied while you’re browsing the bestsellers. A wall had to come down, and new lighting was installed, but other than that, the space was ready-made.
Co-owners Emily Russo and Josh Christie took the plunge two weeks ago, braving the competition and defying any notions of reading as a dying industry. They offer new books only, leaving the sales of well-worn tomes to Yes Books, Carlson & Turner Antiquarian Books and Bookbindery, and The Green Hand Bookshop. Longfellow Books sells both new and used books and has a loyal following, but the folks at Print are confident there will be enough booklovers to support their endeavor.
“Any business is a challenge,” Christie said. “But the American Booksellers Association says that, since 2011, there have been more independent bookstores opening than closing.”
This is not a leap taken blindly. Russo worked as events coordinator at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Ma. and at the Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn before that. Christie started at the Sherman’s Books & Stationery in Freeport before he designed, opened, and managed their affiliate in Portland in 2014.
A job that combines the business and pleasure of leading people to great literature is worth the risk. Print plans to relieve the stress with some evening events, book-readings and author appearances. They say that within two years, they expect to be hosting as many as 200 shindigs a year.
Coming up in 2017, Jason Diamond will read from his non-fiction work Searching for John Hughes on Feb. 3, and Maine author Ron Currie will read from his new book, The One-Eyed Man on March 9.
Here are some of the booksellers’ picks for must-reads in the New Year, as well as overlooked books from the past:
Coming in January, Paul Auster checks in with a 980-page doorstopper called 4321. The main character rolls through four different trajectories of his past.
The Gentleman by Forrest Leo. Written in the P.G. Wodehouse style, the book follows an 18-century poet who, running low on money, meets the devil on the street and maybe a makes a deal with him.
The Mothers – Brit Bennett’s debut novel about a group of women from southern California who run a church. Things get complex when a young girl falls for the pastor’s son.
Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein. A short story collection reminiscent of TV’s “Black Mirror” and its surreal take on how technology affects people’s lives.
How to be a person in the world by Heather Havrilesky. A collection of writings by the syndicated advice columnist. Havrilesky is a modern-day Dr. Abby for millennial misanthropes.
Check out Print for your holiday shopping, and chase away the Bah Humbugs.