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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Barnes & Noble closes, Gainesville offers book alternatives

It was only a matter of time. The Barnes & Noble in Butler Plaza indefinitely closed its doors to customers.

Lindsey Jones, a 22-year-old UF film and media studies senior, said she was surprised at how quickly Barnes & Noble had been erased.

“They came in like two to three days later and were already taking down all of the signs and had covered up all the windows, and it was just gone,” Jones said.

Gainesville has many replacements to offer even though the well-known bookstore has closed. These small, independently owned stores still make books a priority.

A) The Book Nook

1119 W. University Ave.

Nestled inside Video Rodeo, The Book Nook is one of many local book shops that offer an alternative to the dwindling commercial bookstores.

“I think it’s kinda cool that it’s here in the video store,” said Lindsey Freeman, a 22-year-old UF graphic design senior, browsing through the DVD selection.

The Book Nook offers numerous shelves packed with books for purchase in a small space near the front of the store. Books range from used to new, theory to fiction, the Twilight series to “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.”

A space to sit and read doesn’t exist in The Book Nook, but it’s worth a visit if you’re just looking to pick up something new.

B) Broken Shelves

101 SE Second Place

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For the past nine months, Broken Shelves has offered a cozy space with couches, chairs and high-top tables where guests can enjoy reading or conversing over a beer or glass of wine.

Co-owner of Broken Shelves, David Astor, 27, said the store is a small, collective social environment where people can come have a drink and talk.

“We wanted to have something for everyone, but have every book in the store be good and worth reading,” Astor said.

Broken Shelves is open daily from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., but tends to close later on the weekends when guests prefer to stay.

C) Wild Iris

22 SE Fifth Ave.

Located near the Citizen’s Co-op and the Civic Media Center, Wild Iris is the only feminist bookstore left in Florida, according to its website. Since opening in 1992, Wild Iris has supported the feminist and LGBT community through the books it sells to the various events it hosts.

“We do a lot more than sell books,” said Leah Robbins, a Wild Iris employee and 20-year-old UF Jewish and women’s studies sophomore. “We interact with people who have all sorts of identities.”

Robbins said Wild Iris is dedicated to raising consciousness about feminism and feminist politics.

The books range from children’s books for queer couples to books about LGBT identities, relationships, rape and sexual abuse, recipes and spirituality.

There are mostly new books with a shelf in the back dedicated to affordable used books.

D) Book Gallery West

4121 NW 16th Blvd.

In the northwest side of town, you can poke your nose through some New York Times bestsellers as well as every genre you can imagine.

Book Gallery West offers Gainesville residents new and used books, gifts and cards.

Hailey Mawhinney, a 21-year-old UF English major and employee at Book Gallery West, said the bookstore offers a large fiction section alongside a children’s and young adult section.

“We get a lot of old people that come in here and take advantage of our trade system,” Mawhinney said.

[A version of this story ran on page 8 on 1/23/2014 under the headline "Barnes & Noble closes, Gainesville offers book alternatives"]

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