05/11/17 11:16am

All photos by Regina Mogilevskaya

Getting a word in with Emma Straub, author and one part of the duo behind Books Are Magic, is nearly impossible while there are customers streaming through the door. And although the Cobble Hill bookstore just opened its doors a few weeks ago, throngs of overjoyed well-wishers are already filling the store in a steady flow. “We’re definitely busy from the moment we open our doors in the morning to the moment we close them at night,” she says.

When BookCourt, the neighborhood’s beloved indie bookstore, announced they were closing, Straub and her husband Michael Fusco-Straub jumped to action immediately. They acquired the Books Are Magic space in October, but Straub says it was the election that really cemented their efforts. “We realized it was so much bigger than just a bookstore,” Straub says. “We needed an open space where people could gather, where families can feel welcome, can get informed.” Thanks to Straub’s established connections with local bookstores (she worked at both BookCourt and at Word in Greenpoint), publishers, and sales reps, the couple pulled off an impressive feat in record time.

The Fusco-Straubs obviously love books and design, and their lovely welcoming space is our new favorite word lair. From the books on the shelves to the sunlit kids room in the back, every swift detail of Books Are Magic takes inspiration from the community in which it blooms. Tulips from neighborhood florists decorate the store’s nooks, while the works of local authors are displayed proudly on recycled BookCourt shelves.

“I’m starting to explore collaborations with other places in the neighborhood, too,” Straub says. “Warby Parker reached out and we’re planning a reading series in their backyard.” In addition to being full of local goodness, the shop is wonderfully spacious, with exposed beams and brick and plenty of sunlight. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel good the second you step through the arched doorway.

Books Are Magic joins an impressive collection of indie bookstores around Brooklyn. Here are a few of our favorites for reading, listening, lounging and browsing. (more…)

Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.

10/08/13 3:00pm
Sun October 13, 2013
Swap your summer reading list for a winter one at Terrace Books. The used bookstore offers store credit in exchange for your unwanted tomes on Sundays. Photo: Jordan Galloway

Swap your summer reading list for a winter one at Terrace Books. The used bookstore offers store credit in exchange for your unwanted tomes on Sundays. Photo: Jordan Galloway

It’s no secret that we love ourselves an indie bookstore, and when we heard that Terrace Books, which opened over the summer in Windsor Terrace, planned to sell primarily second-hand stock, we made a mental note to stop by and check out its selection of rare, used and out-of-print editions. If your bookshelves are bowing under the weight of your own collection and you’re looking to perhaps unload a few paperbacks, here’s a novel idea: on Sundays Terrace Books will trade you store credit for your literary castoffs–and they’re sure to offer you more than your college bookstore ever did (seriously there’s no way 19th century novels depreciate that much in value over a single semester). It’s a great way to breath new life into your personal library without breaking the bank and recycle your old reads as something other than Christmas presents.

08/13/13 9:47am

photo (8)

Noticing Windsor Terrace was in need of an indie bookstore of its own, nearby Community Bookstore in Park Slope decided to open a second location, Terrace Books, which specializes in secondhand titles. Photo: Community Bookstore

Independent bookstores are alive and well in Brooklyn, with shops opening in Windsor Terrace and Crown Heights and a new outpost for an old favorite coming to Jersey City soon. Curl up with your summer reading list, blow through that stack of trashy romance novels and warm up your Kobo–the bookstores are coming.

Hullabaloo Books

Hullabaloo is the latest business venture from Michael de Zayas, a Crown Heights local who has started collecting storefronts on Franklin Ave. like Monopoloy properties. De Zayas owns Little Zelda cafe and Wedge cheese shop, and now plans to open the up-and-coming neighborhood’s first bookstore on Sept. 30 in a former pawn shop on Park Place. The space is small and de Zayas plans to reserve the limited shelving for new and used fiction, poetry, cookbooks, children’s books, art and local authors, including an entire section devoted to Crown Heights authors. Plans are also in the works to create a community reading garden, and de Zayas is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a free event series.

Terrace Books

Because books, like leftovers, are even better the second time around, when the owners of Community Bookstore decided to open a second shop in Windsor Terrace, they chose to stock the shelves with used books–though the store does offer a small selection of new books and quick delivery of new titles from Community Bookstore. Terrace Books officially opened in mid-July, and co-owner Stephanie Valdez says so far so good. “Business has been great,” she says, “and we’re enjoying the chance to connect with both new customers in the neighborhood and many of our regulars from Community Bookstore.” As of now, they’re not buying secondhand books, but they plan to in the future as they settle into their new digs.

WORD Jersey City

Possibly the coolest part of the new WORD outpost coming to Jersey City is the walk-up coffee window that will open to commuters in the morning. Noting that coffee and books make good bedfellows, WORD’s owner Christine Onorati worked plans for a cafe into the blueprints of her second space, which is expected to open in mid-September. Keeping it all in the family, the Jersey spot will sell soups, salads and sandwiches prepared next door at her cousin’s Italian restaurant Roman Nose. It’ll be second verse, same as the first so far as book titles and selection goes, with WORD Jersey City offering a similar stock to what’s on the shelves of the store’s original location on Franklin Street in Greenpoint.

Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.