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Local book lovers are mourning the upcoming loss of The Community Bookstore, the independent bookshop that's been in Cobble Hill since 1980—its closure was announced in the New York Times this morning. One person who isn't too upset about it, though? Owner John Scioli. "Believe me, I tried to go out of business two or three times," he told the paper. "I can't believe people still put up with this place. But no matter what I did, people just kept buying books."
What others were interested in buying, however, was the three-story building on 212 Court Street, where Scioli moved to after originally opening in Brooklyn Heights. After fielding several offers over the years, he accepted a $5.5 million buyout—that's 11 times more than what he purchased it for—from three brothers who own properties like the Victoria's Secret in Herald Square and Roberto Cavalli on Madison Avenue.
He'll close out the store at some point within the next year. Community Bookstore, the store he originally opened with his ex-wife in Park Slope in 1971 that he ceded in their divorce, will remain.
It's a good thing that its final days of business are so far off: The hoarder-like store environment has as many as 100,000 books that are only navigable by the 70-year-old owner. But that's an element that frequent patrons enjoyed. "It was fairly representative of a kind of New York City used bookstore with tremendous character and a very deep inventory, and a certain air of willfulness," according to author Jonathan Lethem.
"You never know what you're going to find here, and that's the appeal," added Queens resident and longtime customer Gregory Ronan. "It's not somewhere you go with a book in mind, but with books on your mind."