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Opening a Small-Town Bookstore During the Pandemic Was the Craziest Thing We Ever Did

It’s every book lover’s fantasy. Yet nothing can quite prepare you for the reality of starting any business, even under normal conditions. Certainly, few dreamers think to prepare for the nightmare of a global pandemic that shutters most brick-and-mortar retail, disrupts supply chains, and kills hundreds of thousands of your fellow citizens. Read more

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New York bookstore figures out the perfect sideline: pickles.

Even in boomtimes it is hard to keep a bookstore afloat: the margins are razor thin and you’re in constant competition for bookbuyers with the largest monopoly in the universe (Am*zon). This is why a lot of stores—particularly newer ones—build higher-margin sidelines into their business models… like, say… beer! (Alena Jones recently wrote for Lit Hub about what bookselling means in the context of selling everything but books.)

Well, I’m here to tell you about a bookstore in New York City that has boldly—zestily, even—gone with pickles as its main sideline. Sweet Pickle Books, conveniently located in the pickle Mecca of the Lower East Side, is your one-stop destination for used books, old cassette tapes(?), and two-pound jars of pickles. Read more