Closing the Book on Barnes and Noble
A sense of victory, a sense of loss since bookseller left Georgetown.
When Barnes and Noble came to Georgetown in 1995, the future of locally owned bookstores was uncertain, but after the major chain bookstore closed its doors on New Year's Eve weekend, Philip Levy simply stated, "We won."
"Don't mess with us," said Levy, the owner of Bridge Street Books. "We are a serious bookstore. The way they used to be."
Levy has owned and operated Bridge Street Books for more than 30 years. He said his initial reaction when hearing Barnes and Noble was coming to town was naïve.
"At first I thought, 'Hey, they will bring more book sellings to Georgetown. They will be good for business.' Barnes and Noble cost us 20 percent off the top, but we held our own." In an effort to compete with Barnes and Noble, Levy said his store discounted best-selling authors and had various sales.
However, not all people were so enthusiastic about the closing of the store. Susan S. Liberman, sole practitioner in Georgetown, said when Barnes and Noble packed up and left Georgetown, the quality of her life dropped.
"I don't have any TVs in my house. I always read for pleasure, but with Barnes and Noble closing, I feel more depressed," Liberman said. "It was a place people could go and relax. I just want a place I can wander around, look for and buy books at my leisure."
Elizabeth Williams, president of The Lantern: Bryn Mawr Bookshop, said she didn't care that Barnes and Noble came to Georgetown.
"We didn't lose any business from Barnes and Noble," Williams said. "Many times I would see people with 'Barnes and Noble' bags walking into our bookstore."
Williams said one of her regular customers walked into the shop after hearing about the closing of Barnes and Noble and jokingly said, "So you finally drove them out of town, huh?"
According to Williams, bookstores are generally cooperative with each other and she didn't view Barnes and Noble with dismay. "Bookstores are a good thing," Williams said.