By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,627)
For readers and those who shop for them, the Holiday shopping season just got a lot easier this year for those residing on the East End of Portland.
A new book store, co-owned by Emily Russo and Josh Christie plans to open this Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 10:00 am according to Christie this morning, if all goes as expected!
The new store, Print, is located in the former Angela Adams flagship store at the juncture of India and Congress Streets. Print is located on the first floor of the building while condominiums occupy the rest of the fully restored building – most of them already sold. The Angela Adams showroom moved to Middle Street.
Christie is the former manager of Sherman’s Books on Exchange Street in the Old Port, an author and a columnist for the “Maine Sunday Telegram” on the outdoors. He was responsible for getting Sherman’s up and running. Russo, an artist, is the daughter of Pulitzer Prize Winning Novelist Richard Russo. In fact, the novelist and his wife, Portland residents, were seen this morning hauling brown cartons of books into the new book store on Congress Street from the back of a station wagon.
Josh is the author, along with his deceased father, John, of a new book “Skiing Maine.” It is published by Down East Books.
According to Christie, 90% of Print stock will be devoted to books exclusively – giving the impression this will be a store for the serious reader. This will be in contrast to Sherman’s Books, the oldest and largest book chain in Maine, whose stock is composed in some cases mostly of non-readable items. “Nic-nacks” are the backbone of many of his book stores. Books on current affairs occupy a small niche at the back of the Exchange Street store as well as at other Sherman’s stores. It’s estimated there will be 10,000 – 11,000 volumes for sale.
The latest acquisition in the Sherman’s chain, by owner Jeff Curtis, is the Damariscotta store. The change in that store is dramatic. As one Main Street business owner recently told mhn.com: “Jeff is trying to be all things to all people.” His long-time book buyer is located in Bar Harbor. She buys for all the stores with some local input, but one has to wonder if the reading habits of these two diverse regions of the state can be managed by someone way down east?! His daughter is the purchaser for the nic-nacs that dominate the shelves in most of his stores.
Presumably Sherman’s stores are intended to appeal to the tourism industry rather than to the serious reader. They are located in state tourism hot spots such as Freeport, Boothbay Harbor and Bar Harbor for example.
It is well known that the profit margin in books is smaller than in other retail items.
Curtis was asked several times for his input on this post. He did not respond.