Manhattan is filled with Third Places, that is, those comfort zones that aren't where we work/attend school or where we live. Some, like the Public Library, are free. Others, like Starbucks, really do require a purchase of food or drink. And there are the hybrids, like Barnes & Noble. There we can hang out and pay nothing. It even provides free Wi-Fi. After the Sandy ordeal we crowded in to get our assignments done for clients not in the storm zone.
That means one less place to hang out. In addition, it represents less shelf space for authors, one fewer forums for authors to connect in person with prospects for their books and one less employment opportunity for book lovers. Here is the coverage of the closing.
Across the river, in Madison, Connecticut the ultimate Third Place book store R.J. Julia had been put up for sale. At the time there had been no buyers. Many were shocked. We had assumed, wrongly, that this kind of independent book store, with its great location and genius for special events, could thrive.
Will the future be Third Places w/o books around?