Bleecker’s bookbook closing shop for good

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | After 10 years on Bleecker St., bookbook will officially close shop on May 15.

The reason for the small bookshop’s closure is twofold, said co-owner Carolyn Epstein. First, the high rent was becoming a burden for Epstein and her husband Charles Mullen, who co-owns the store with her.

Also, the long hours and physicality of managing the bookstore were taking a toll on the couple, as well. Epstein is 70 and Mullen is 68. Epstein joked that the employees look frightened when watching her going up and down stairs in the shop.

“I just don’t want to do it anymore. It’s tiring,” she said. “It’s not like you just sit behind a counter.”

As it gets ready to shut its doors next month, bookbook is offering a closing sale. (Photo courtesy of bookbook)

But a part of bookbook will live on. Even though the store’s physical doors close in May, Epstein, Mullen and two employees will continue to sell books on the street once or twice a week at the Abingdon Square farmers market and perhaps also by a pickle stand on Sixth Ave. near Carmine St.

Updates about where bookbook will be setting up outside sales tables will be posted on Facebook and Instagram.

The couple opened their first store, Biography Bookshop, at 400 Bleecker St., near W. 11th St., in 1984. After leaving that space, they opened the smaller bookbook about seven blocks away at 266 Bleecker St., near Morton St.

Arman Safa, an assistant manager at bookbook, sells the store’s books outdoors at the Abingdon Square farmers market. bookbook will continue to sell at the spot once or twice a week, and also maybe at another location on Sixth Ave. (Photo courtesy of bookbook)

But now, after 35 years of ordering, shipping, stacking and unpacking books, it’s time for a vacation. Which will be one of the first things Epstein and Mullen do after they shutter the place and after their closing celebration, scheduled to take place the week of May 20.

Their vacation, though, is really just a road trip down memory lane. Shortly after bookbook’s last-hurrah celebration, Epstein and Mullen will road trip it out to Los Angeles to visit a former bookbook employee.

“They are like family to us,” she said.

Everything at bookbook is currently 20 to 30 percent off as a part of the store’s closing sale. Details about the finale party will be sent out in an e-blast once the date has been finalized.