May 16, 2016
Kickstarter for the Queens Bookshop Initiative
by Julia Fleischaker
Three former booksellers from the now-closed Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills, Queens have created the Queens Bookshop Initiative, with the goal of opening a new independent bookstore in the borough. Through their kickstarter, they’ve already raised over $17,000.
The three of us met while working at the Barnes and Noble in Forest Hills. Eventually, we all went our separate ways, but when we heard that the store was closing at the end of 2015, we decided to reunite to say our final goodbyes to our beloved local bookstore. It was during this time that we realized Queens was being left in the literary dust with the closure of the Forest Hills and Bayside locations at the end of the year and Fresh Meadows in 2014. Now there’s just one general-purpose bookstore in the entire borough, and we are desperate, as readers and community members, for another.
Queens is home to over 2 million people, and with the closing of the borough’s chain stores, Astoria Bookshop was left as its only general interest bookstore.
While we have libraries, owning your own book collection from a young age, dog-earing your favorite book (please use bookmarks, we beg you), or writing your thoughts down on the page is an experience that cannot be replicated. These things are what make a book yours. The three of us were fortunate enough to grow up choosing books because we could. Others can’t. We want to bring the opportunity we had to love bookstores to the people of Queens and have it be around the block.
Though they haven’t chosen a location yet, Vina, Natalie, and Holly have broken down some costs, and hope to raise $70,000. Funding prizes range from bookmarks and recommendations to signed books and the opportunity to sponsor a shelf. You can learn more, and donate to the kickstarter here.
Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.