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Book Revue owner in wrangle with landlord

People wait on line at Book Revue in

People wait on line at Book Revue in Huntington for a book signing by Yankee great, Tino Martinez. (June 10, 2008) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Economic hard times and a rent dispute with its landlord could force a shutdown of the Book Revue, a independent Huntington Village bookstore that over the past three decades has given a literary flair to the business district, a store co-owner said.

“We want to stay in Huntington Village. This has been home to the store for 34 years, but if we have no choice, we have no choice,” Richard Klein, who owns the store with his brother Robert, said Tuesday.

A sign saying “Space Available” is in the store’s front window at 313 New York Ave., and many customers have asked about it, he said.

Klein said the store, which has 27 years left on its lease, had made a deal with its previous owner to pay a reduced amount of about 75 percent of the stipulated rent. But the new owner requires the store to pay full rent, Klein said. The owner was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

Klein declined to state the store’s revenue or its lease payments, but said the store pays about $50,000 a year in property taxes, and more than $250,000 overall, each year.

Bookstores across the country, from small independents to mega-chains like Borders, are closing due to the advent of e-books and online sales through Amazon and eBay. In that climate, Klein said, paying full rent will push the store toward moving or closing..

“This may very well force us out of Huntington. We hope that doesn’t happen,” Klein said. Many other village stores are getting steep discounts from their landlords, due to the difficult economy, he said. “We’re trying to work with the landlord.”

The store is known for bringing high-profile literary and celebrity authors to town for readings and book signings. The store’s list of visitors includes such names as Bill Clinton, Madeleine L'Engle, Lauren Bacall, Ray Bradbury, Jon Stewart, William Shatner and J.K. Rowling.

“We’re not just another hair salon. We’re not just another bar. We think the bookstore helps make Huntington a special place to live,” Klein said. “We bring something to town that’s hard to replace.”

Photo:  A line at Book Revue in Huntington for a book signing by Yankee Tino Martinez.

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