Bronx resident Latanya DeVaughn is shunning the brick-and-mortar model and taking her bookstore to the people.
As the second general interest bookseller in the borough — The Lit. Bar by Noëlle Santos recently opened in Mott Haven — Bronx Bound Books doesn’t believe in the "If you build it, they will come" theory. Instead, DeVaughn will roam neighborhoods like the South Bronx, Co-op City, Throgs Neck and Riverdale and set up shop in parks and residential areas.
Once DeVaughn purchases either a truck or old school bus, she plans to peddle new and used books by local authors at least three days of the week. She’ll also offer literacy lessons and read from specially curated lists by local teachers and authors.
DeVaughn, who has a background in accounting, has already been bringing these kinds of services to schools in the borough, she said, and has wanted to do a mobile bookstore for about two decades.
"Rent in the Bronx is getting out of reach, and the further out of reach it went the further away my dream went," she told amNewYork. "This is a gift in disguise because being in the community, I’ve seen what the community wants to read. Being accessible is better than relying on brick-and-mortar and people getting to me, and there are enough obstacles getting to local libraries."
She said for most people in the Bronx, the lack of speedy transportation is a huge deterrent.
"I want to bring books to the people, even if just for one day."
So far, the community has expressed support for DeVaughn’s idea.
Bronx resident and teacher Peggy Robles said that it makes economic sense "as opposed to paying rent or a developer who comes in and says ‘let me help you.’" "They like your idea but they might not like the people you serve. This is being done in a way that we don’t become a target. Its mobility will make it possible not to get caught up and have to sell books to pay rent."
The service is "extremely necessary" for the borough because a love of reading isn’t widespread and many public schools aren’t getting the resources they need in their libraries, she said.
DeVaughn will launch a campaign to raise $65,000 to $85,000 to get Bronx Bound Books on the streets. How to donate will be announced at a later date.
"I see a void and I just want to fill it," she said. "I want to try and make it a different place for us."