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Can Indie Booksellers Rise from the Ashes?

Publishers Weekly reported good news from Wakefield, RI on February 10!  Wakefield Books opened Feb 12, filling the space vacated by Waldenbooks after 30 years of occupancy.

“We are excited to welcome Wakefield Books to the Wakefield Mall with an expected opening date of mid-February,” said Phyllis Fish, mall manager, in an e-mail Wednesday morning as reported in the South County Independent online edition on February 12 South County Independent online edition on February 12.

The store will be opened by Bookstore Solutions Management, a new company formed by long-time independents Susan Novotny (Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany, NY) and David Didriksen (Willow Books in Action, MA).  Their concept is to open bookstores that are ideally suited to their communities in the space left by the chain stores that are vacating in locations throughout New England, reported PW.

The stores are destinations for the community, many of whom are finding themselves without a local bookseller. In the case of Wakefield, PW reports that the entire staff will stay on at the new store.  It will have a larger local tourist books section and a larger children’s area.  Other than that, with only some cosmetic changes, they’re ready for business.

“What reader doesn’t like to go into a bookstore and poke around?” asked Marc Archambault of Wakefield [as reported in the South County Independent]. “They had the new books, and the staff picks were always interesting to see. Plus talking to the employees – I loved it – it was like a mini-book club walking into that store.”

PW weekly reports that Novotny will begin as the buyer for the store. something that will transition to Wakefield Books. Didriksen will oversee operations.