A new chapter could be in store for Huntington Town's independent book scene.
Mallory Braun, a former manager at Book Revue, is behind the push to launch a new bookstore, after the 44-year-old shop closed its doors in September from pandemic-induced financial struggles, unsuccessful lease negotiations and an eviction. Braun has the blessing of former Book Revue owner Richard Klein, who is acting as a consultant for the new venture and mentoring Braun.
The planned store, called The Next Chapter, aims to fill the gap for bibliophiles left by Book Revue’s closure. It won’t be Book Revue in name, but certainly in spirit, Braun said, which she hopes to "reincarnate." To fund the project, Braun launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $250,000. Donations as of Wednesday have mounted to more than $55,000.
Braun hopes to initially sell rare and used books — her specialty — and beef up the new book selection over time. Want something not on the shelves? Ask, she said, and she’ll order it. She also plans to offer classes, workshops, local author readings and performances.
Braun, 28, a Stony Brook resident, has long wanted to open her own bookstore in hopes of carving out a space that gives the community a place to gather and learn.
"I think it’s really important that we have interactions with each other in places other than the online space," she told Newsday on Tuesday. "Also, there is just something about having a physical book and reading it, and we’ve heard that from our customers over the years."
Details surrounding the planned shop remain undetermined, but Braun said she hopes to open the store next year and has her eye on a downtown space within walking distance of Book Revue. She hopes to have a cafe on-site as well.
While bookstores across the country have closed due to the move away from physical books and the rise of online retailers, Book Revue remained an important character in the lives of Long Islanders. Both Klein and Braun recalled numerous stories they were told in the shop’s final days about what it meant to the community.
When the store closed on Sept. 10, hundreds of people lined up around the block for a free book giveaway.
Klein identified the casual and friendly vibe of the shop as what hooked readers. The previous shop felt like an extension of one’s living room, with chairs sprinkled throughout and a cafe offering drinks and food. With the used book offerings, treasures awaited to be discovered.
"We were important, there’s no question about it," Klein said. "We heard a lot about it when we closed. A lot of people were very, very upset when we closed."