Little City Books

Little City Books opens in Hoboken, NJ

Little City Books opened up this past weekend at First and Bloomfield Streets.

Many customers came in to greet the new business (and even bought some books!)

While it’s extremely awesome that there is still love for the physically printed word in a technological world – I’m curious as to what the long-term viability of an “indie” bookstore is. For a few reasons:

  1. People don’t really have a place to sit down and flip through a few pages. While good for the book store (because a lot of people practically squat at places like Barnes & Noble), would it turn some folks off?
  2. And how do you compete with the Amazon’s of the world – and even cheaper – the Jet’s of the world? Yeah, is big because their books are a solid 15% less than Amazon! (for “new” at least).
  3. Overhead. The need to pay for rent (and make a profit) will mean that whatever discounts they can offer will be minimal.

I hope they make it.

Description: “Indie” Book Store.
Address: 100 Bloomfield Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Phone: 201-626-READ (201-626-7323 for those who don’t remember the letters on the keypad)

Little City Books – Hoboken, NJ – 100 Bloomfield Street

2/11/2015 Update:

Replacing Platform Shoes (which “downsized” into Air Studios recently) this spring is Little City Books.

Located at 100 Bloomfield Street and expected to open in May, Little City Books is the brainchild of local musician Kate Jacobs along with former Goldman Sachs investment banker Donna Garban and literary agent Emmanuelle Morgen.

Touted as an “indie bookstore,” the ladies hope to fill a void created when Barnes & Noble left a few years ago. The only other bookstore in town presently is Symposia Books.

The trio hopes to lure customers with a curated array of “music books,” “kids books” and many others based on “customer demand.”

They also are starting an IndieGoGo campaign to help them pay for “building out” the space.

Little City Books Hoboken NJ 100 Bloomfield Street

A bookstore in Hoboken: Can it succeed?

I certainly do like the idea of a bookstore. We need entrepreneurs like these ladies to remind people that reading is a good thing (other than electronic gadgets and so on). But I am a bit concerned about their approach, as well as long-term viability.

  • For one, starting an Indiegogo campaign to help them pay for this sounds shitty. Who commits to starting a business unless they can afford it on their own? This trend of “other people” funding small businesses like this seems like a cheap shortcut. Unless there was a real ROI on any investment – how could you open your wallets to fund someone else’s future profits?
  • Additionally – can a “brick & mortar” bookstore survive in 2015? Symposia is kind of dumpy and has relatively cheap rent. This fancy spot certainly costs more.
  • And these three are starting this business – while maintaining other jobs. Seems like a half-effort to me. I appreciate businesses where the owners are always on hand. How do you create customer relationships when you’re hit or miss?
  • With online retailers like Amazon selling pre-owned books for pennies (or Kindle versions) – what is their model for survival? Another “Indiegogo” campaign?
  • I’d suspect if they were smart – they’d also figure out a way to rent out the space for private parties, as well as hold some kind of (pay-for) events as well.

Hopefully they’ll have a decent enough customer base to survive. Maybe “grass roots” can win over the online “Goliaths” of the world?

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3 Comments on "Little City Books"

Kyle J Kelly
Kyle J Kelly
1 year 5 months ago

Best of luck!

1 year 7 months ago

Hundreds of bookstores are opening all the time, and have been incredibly successful. Amazon is not the end-all-be-all.
However your other concerns are fair.

1 year 8 months ago

Many new businesses use social media to guilt others into paying their way. Charity in another form.