The Next Chapter, an independent bookstore, opened its doors Saturday, to the delight of the community. NewsdayTV’s Steve Langford reports. Credit: Kendall Rodriguez

When a beloved Huntington bookstore shuttered last year, the loss spurred a grassroots effort to bring another brick-and-mortar reading store to the village. And on a rainy Saturday morning, The Next Chapter opened its doors to dozens of excited book lovers from near and far.

Even having a gallbladder removed earlier in the week didn't keep Katie Bonilla, of Bayville, from driving to Saturday's launch.

 “I'm thrilled to have another bookstore that’s not your typical Amazon big brand; it's a local store. … We need more of this because big businesses don’t support the town, it’s stores like this that support the town and the people around it,” she said, noting she appreciated the personalized attention.

Paula Edelman, of Northport, browses at The Next Chapter.

Paula Edelman, of Northport, browses at The Next Chapter. Credit: Linda Rosier

COVID-19-induced financial struggles, unsuccessful lease negotiations, and retirement goals had pushed Book Revue to close in September 2021 after 44 years and later led to an online fundraising campaign to establish another bookstore.

The fundraising efforts — more than $250,000 was raised — were the brainchild of Mallory Braun, a former Book Revue manager who jump-started the new operations with the backing of prior owner Richard Klein. She also took along six former colleagues to The Next Chapter. 

Mallory Braun led efforts to open The Next Chapter.

Mallory Braun led efforts to open The Next Chapter. Credit: Linda Rosier

Plenty of supporters heralded its arrival Saturday as they shopped for new, used and rare books, and vinyl records.

“It’s great to wander around a bookstore and get lost in it and find some treasure,” said Noah Finkel, 79, an orthopedic surgeon from Huntington who donated $250 to help see the project come to fruition.

The publishing industry saw a revival last year, with over 825 million books sold, compared to 757.9 million print in 2020, but there are challenges ahead, according to Publishers Weekly.

Nationwide, 350 independent bookstores have opened since the pandemic began, and there are another 294 slated to open in the next one to two years, said Allison Hill, the CEO at American Booksellers Association, in an email. She added the association saw a 20% increase in bookstore membership since 2020.

Beyond just selling books, Braun hopes the store also will serve as a venue to host events, and as an important community hub. “I thought that there was a need in the community and I thought it was a good opportunity for myself as well,” she said.

 Noteworthy books include a first-edition signed Joan Didion, “Political Fictions,” for $1,000; a $2,500 signed and inscribed “The Missing Piece Meets the Big O,” by Shel Silverstein; and a $3,300 special edition of “Poems of W.B. Yeats,” signed by the illustrator Richard Diebenkorn. 

Arienne Lima, of Huntington, shops on opening day at The...

Arienne Lima, of Huntington, shops on opening day at The Next Chapter. Credit: Linda Rosier

Arienne Lima, 48, of Huntington, was brought to tears reminiscing about meeting her best friend at the old bookshop over 16 years ago and how her daughter held one of her first jobs there.
“The village hasn’t been the same without a bookstore. … It was part of our routine,” Lima said, adding she will be visiting the new store just as frequently.
For patrons browsing for titles, the new shop offered a new chance to escape, connect and be inspired. 

"Browsing and thinking and contemplating is just as important as some of the other fast-paced things we do," said Matt Rosman, of Mineola.

"What they’re trying to do here is archival. It’s not just preserving the idea but preserving the ideas of many great people we wouldn’t ordinarily know about," he said.

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