QUEENS — A group working to launch their own independent bookshop in Queens after Barnes & Noble closed its last location in the borough has come up with a temporary solution while they are looking for a permanent home — selling books at pop-up locations across the borough.
Next week, they will also start selling books at Red Pipe Café at 71-60 Austin St. in Forest Hills.
In the future, the group is planning to look for additional pop-up locations around the borough, mainly at flea markets and cafes, they said.
Some of the books will be sold as part of the group's “blind date with a book” project, in which volumes are wrapped in plain paper only with a short description of their content.
“That way people don’t know what books they are buying and they can’t judge a book by its cover,” said Holly Nikodem, 30, one of the three women behind the push for the bookstore.
Nikodem and her two colleagues, Vina Castillo and Natalie Noboa, met while working at the now-closed Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills. When the chain announced it was closing its last remaining locations in Queens, they began to pursue their plans to open an independent bookstore.
Currently, there is there is only one English-language bookstore in the borough — The Astoria Bookshop.
The pop-up locations will serve as a short-term solution while the group is looking for a brick-and-mortar location.
As of now, the group is eyeing several sites in Kew Gardens, which Nikodem said, would be a perfect location for their permanent shop because it's in “Central Queens which doesn’t really have much of a bookstore presence anymore."
The group just got a financial boost for their project after their Kickstarter campaign, which ended earlier this week, exceeded its original goal, raising more than $72,000.
More than 830 people backed their 2-month-long campaign, which started on April 23, the group said.
The money will be used to build inventory for the future bookstore. The group is now in the process of opening its first account with Penguin Random House, Nikodem said.