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Books Are Magic Sets Tentative Opening Date

Author Emma Straub and her husband, Michael Fusco-Straub, have set a tentative opening date of May 1 for Books Are Magic, a new children’s bookstore on Smith Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, reported Patch. Straub announced plans to open Books Are Magic following the closure of Brooklyn’s BookCourt in December.

“The store has lovely windows and lots of exposed brick, and about 30 of BookCourt’s bookshelves, each of them imbued with lots of good luck and bookselling love,” the couple wrote in a recent newsletter.

The owners are currently hiring staff, booking events, ordering books, and exploring collaborations with their retail neighbors, including Stinky Brooklyn cheese shop and eyeglass company Warby Parker. “The best part is that every time we’re in the space, neighbors pass and poke their heads in and tell us that they’re happy we’re here. We are, too,” the couple said.

Book Culture to Celebrate 20 Years

In honor of its 20th year in business at 536 West 112th Street in New York City, Book Culture will hold an anniversary celebration on March 31 at 7:00 p.m.

Book Culture will be joined by New Directions Publishing, which has remained one of the bookstore’s favorite presses, staff wrote on the store’s event page.

During the celebration, which will feature drinks, speeches, and good cheer, Book Culture will debut a new section dedicated to New Directions titles.

Staff Changes at This House of Books

Gustavo Belotta, who previously worked as manager of a Hastings bookstore, has been named the new manager of This House of Books, which opened on October 1 in downtown Billings, Montana. Jamie Winter will become the new manager of the store’s tea bar, reported KTVQ.

Belotta is taking over for Gary Robson, former CEO and general manager of the bookstore, who will join former tea bar manager Gwen Gunn in opening a tea shop in Red Lodge, Montana, where Robson owned Red Lodge Books and Tea before joining This House of Books.

Precious McKenzie, a member of the store’s board of directors, indicated that business has been slow at the bookstore. Belotta said he plans to increase the store’s schedule of events, such as author readings, signings, book club meetings, and game nights, and take advantage of the local farmers’ market to draw visitors to the store. He also plans to connect with local writers and start training new part-time workers next month.

Talking Leaves to Consolidate Stores

Buffalo, New York’s Talking Leaves Books, which has two locations in the city, is closing its Main Street store after 42 years in business. Store co-owner Jonathon Welch announced the closing on Facebook, citing economic downturns and changes in buying habits.

Going forward, the remaining store, Talking Leaves in Buffalo’s Elmwood Village neighborhood, will have a renewed focus on partnerships with cultural organizations, schools, and other community groups for events such as readings and conversations, with the intent to also bring books out of the store and into the community. The store will also revamp its website and add the option to purchase books online.

“What will not change is the vision, purpose, and goal that inspired us when we opened in 1975,” wrote Welch. “Part of our renewed focus is to better engage you in this store and in the movement to maintain and sustain a vibrant local independent economy. A community is only as strong as the resources that physically reside in it. We welcome your suggestions to make us a better bookstore, one that will be around for another 40 years.”