With Borders long gone and Barnes & Noble barely hanging in, the bookstore situation in Center City has been bleak. But at 1632 Walnut St. a new bookstore opened. And not just any bookstore, the first outside New York location (and only the second store) for the expanding Shakespeare & Co. chain.
Of course there is a cafe, although not stocked on opening day. I’ll need to visit again to check it out, but here’s what to expect.
Unlike the cavernous Barnes & Noble, the two floor Shakespeare & Co. has an independent bookstore feel, with a wide ranging but curated collection. And it looks great.
Still to come are rolling ladders for the giant bookshelves.
The most unique aspect is the Espresso Book Machine, an in-store printer and binder that can churn out a paperback in a few minutes. Their library includes over 7 million titles, from books licensed through publishers to public domain. Plus the machine is open for authors to print their own books. Editorial service packages are available, or they can print from a file.
Unfortunately the machine was not yet operational when I visited, but I’m definitely going back to see it in action. (I work in publishing, so this kind of thing is fascinating to me.)
For Philly book lovers, and visitors to the city, the store is a very welcome addition.