Location: 126 Franklyn Street, Brooklyn, NY
Description: This cute, two-room bookstore has the feel of a small book boutique. The walls are painted in soft blues and yellows, with the exception of one, which maintains its original brick-face. Red and white hand-painted signs with cursive lettering indicate the main shelf sections, and book recommendations can be found scattered throughout the racks. Soft classic rock music plays from a singular speaker tucked back on a shelf filled with indie-style board games. A collection of tote bags and WORD merchandise hangs off a cloths line in the back corner near the staircase that leads down to their event room.
What I like: This small store makes good use of the space it has available, and they seem to go out of their way to make the book browsing experience pleasant and communal. A small shelf near the front desk lists recommended reads and showcases the books currently being read by their book clubs. One shelf has a sign above it listing the top ten books of the month while another displays books from their upcoming events. Another fun feature of this bookstore is the sheer number of coloring books and special markers that they sell as well as the variety in different notebooks and stationary cards. These elements contribute to the boutique-esque vibe of the store because even though they are related to writing and creativity, they widen the range of cute items for customers to choose from.
How they are combating the pressures of the digital age: This store has strong communities ties. In addition to being part of IndieBound, WORD prides itself on being “whatever communities need [them] to be.” While their original location is in Brooklyn, they recently opened a second location in Jersey City, and they tailor their store’s products and features to what the surrounding community needs and wants. They state that, “In Brooklyn that means carrying a lot of paperback fiction (especially classics), cookbooks, board books, and absurdly cute cards and stationery.” However they also consider themselves “friends” for every type of event ranging from “the classic author reading and Q&A to potlucks and a basketball league,” which they host in the park across the street. This month (July) they are also taking part in a community “Where’s Waldo” scavenger hunt, which encourages store visitors to shop locally. Interestingly, the WORD website does not appear to have an online store and online book browsing is limited to a small selection of recommended e-books. WORD has partnered with Kobo, an e-book publishing company, to make e-book available to their customers. Their website offers a brief statement on their view of digital books. They say, “You’ve all probably read at least one article about how print books are dying and how in 30 seconds or 30 years, we’ll all be reading via microchips embedded in our brains. It may not surprise you to hear that we don’t actually believe that! But we do think that reading digitally has its perks, and if you think so too, then we are still your source for advice and recommendations.”
Quoted information from http://www.wordbookstores.com