There was an interesting story this weekend in The Bangor Daily News. Left Bank Books, a small bookstore located on Main Street in Searsport (the existing store can be seen in this News photo), is heading across the Passagassawakeag River to Belfast. The store, owned by Marsha Kaplan, Lindsay McGuire and Barbara Klausmeyer, will reopen in a larger space and become part of what certainly appears to be an increasingly vibrant local shopping area in Belfast. (I know that Mr. Paperback, the biggest bookstore in Belfast, just closed, but that store was brought down by other factors and, I believe, was one of the stronger in the chain.) In fact, Dorothy Havey, director of Our Town Belfast told the News, “Our goal is to have Belfast be known as a city of books.”
That is certainly a fine goal and they seem to be off to a good start. According to the News, just within a few blocks of the new Left Bank Books, there is Artisan Books & Bindery and BellaBooks on High Street and the Old Professor’s Bookshop on Main Street. Also selling books are Gift shop Beyond the Sea on Main Street and Out on a Whimsy on High Street. Not only that, but the 2012 Belfast Bound Book Festival will take place from July 27 to July 29. The event, according to organizers, is a three-day festival celebrating reading, writing and publishing and will feature 25,000 books.
It was also great to read a story about books and booksellers that was upbeat, positive and showed people taking a proactive approach to sales and marketing on an ongoing basis, in addition to a one-time festival. No one in the story was complaining about Amazon or ebooks or the internet or big box stores. Instead it seemed to be about energy, excitement, and good merchandizing of books. All that sounds great to us.