My Local – Watchung Booksellers

The death of the independent bookstore has been greatly exaggerated.

Some are having hard times, and some are closing. But imagine my surprise when I walked into my local, the excellent Watchung Booksellers, and found that they will be closing next week.

TO EXPAND.

Now, that’s the kind of news a writer and a book lover finds joyful. I’ve known the bookmongers and proprietors for nearly twenty years, and they run a great shop with a sprawling children’s section, a meaty mystery department, and they’ve had everyone from Jenny Milchman and Dennis Tafoya to the one and only Lawrence Block signing and speaking there. All in a very efficiently used, and to dip into realtor parlance, charming and cozy space.

It’s a small store. I’ve been in smaller bookshops, but I can’t recall them, and I think they’re all in bookstore heaven now. So I am thrilled to see them taking over space from next door and embiggening themselves.

I stopped in to pick up Sara Gran’s Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, on the urgent recommendation of Matthew Funk, and snagged Night Soldiers by Alan Furst, after hearing about his ambitious series of linked novels set in the run-up to the Second World War. They have impeccable taste- meaning they carry books I love by friends and other authors I admire- and they’ve sold a few copies of the Lost Children Anthology, which is available from them locally and via mail order, if you like supporting indie bookstores.

4 thoughts on “My Local – Watchung Booksellers

  1. I was overjoyed to read this post (and say hi to a fellow bookstore lover, at least a cyber hi). We travel cross-country every summer, visiting bookstores, and spreading the word about Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day (we call this bookstore tourism) and as your first line says, we’ve found the reports of their demise to be greatly exaggerated. We see new bookstores opening, second branches of established stores appearing, Borders buildings filled with independents, and now the gem that is Watchung is expanding! Thank you for sharing this news!

    • I’ve lost many bookstores over the years. Montclair lost Orion books, the Cup and Chaucer,
      Middle Earth, and three more whose names escape me… But this one is fighting strong!

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