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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Where's the Books?

As promised, there was magic at the opening of Jersey City's first bookstore, the slight of hand that one gets when one hires a professional magician. Unfortunately, there was very little magic coming from the books, that sort of sensation that creeps over you when you see there on the shelf the very book you've spent the last six months searching for, and not only is it there, ready for you to buy, but its been severely discounted. No, there was none of that sort of magic.

Indeed, there were hardly any books at all. We found two shelves of literature-- Dover Thrift editions of the classics and the complete Tom Robbins. Beyond that there was genre fiction and a few books covering specialty topics like Breast Feeding and the benefits of vegetarianism. We're neither a vegetarian nor do we have kids. The other half of the store was filled with assorted gifts-- board games, postcards, bath salts-- the sorts of things tourists pick up on day out to Cape May or New Hope or Williamsburg-- but not really the sorts of things normal people buy at their neighborhood store.

Of course, there are a few occasions we might see ourselves buying another copy of Harry Potter or one of those science oriented board games smart people give to kids thinking that it will make the kids smarter. For birthdays and holidays-- particularly those that we forgot about-- we might very well go down there. But there simply aren't enough books to keep us interested week after week.

There is of course a chance that this was just the first round, the hasty opening before the end of the holiday season. We're hoping in the future there will be used books in more than just the science-fiction genre. Frankly, we're hoping to see some actual books of the new variety too. We'd like to see some magazines and literary journals and art zines-- the sort of timely material that makes us want to show up more than once every six months.

In short, the Imagine Atrium is a store that sells books, not a bookstore. Perhaps our expectations were too high. We weren't expecting The Strand, but we were expecting some books. We won't be giving up on the place just yet though. There is room to grow, room for books, and we'll be back, if for no other reason then to check in on their progress.



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New York's Sixth is a blog for the forgotten, de facto borough across the river featuring original content, commentary, and information relevant to living in Downtown Jersey City / Hoboken.


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