ANOTHER Bookstore Plans to Open on UWS, as Shakespeare & Co. Plots Triumphant Return

The Shakespeare & Co. at 939 Lexington Avenue.

The Upper West Side bookstore renaissance is real, people.

Shakespeare & Co., once a fixture in the neighborhood, is coming back, adding to a slew of bookstore openings in the last two years.

Shakespeare closed its location at 81st and Broadway in 1996, as competition from the Barnes & Noble just one block away ate away at its sales.

Since then, a holding company has taken over the brand and announced an expansion plan. And part of that expansion involves opening a new store at 2020 Broadway, between 69th and 70th Streets, sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.

“Like the flagship store, all three new Shakespeare bookstores will be about 3,000 sq. ft. and will have a café with seating and Wi-Fi, as well as a book machine and carefully selected inventory,” Publishers Weekly reported.

The store is also expected to have an “Espresso Book Machine” that prints books on demand through a sister company called On Demand Books. “With the Espresso machine, Neller emphasized that the stores will not only be able to ‘showcase’ books, but will also be able to print the books customers want that may not be on the shelves. Customers will also be able to self-publish their own books using the Espresso machine.”

It’s not immediately clear if it will be in the former Barcibo Mediterraneo or the former Tani shoe store that was briefly a deli. We’ve reached out to the company for more information.

NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 66 comments | permalink
    1. 69th St. Dude says:

      This is absolutely great. As a resident of 70th St, this particular stretch of broadway is definitely missing something. I hope the bookstore fills this void!

    2. Amy E. says:

      Best news ever! Viva la independent bookstore!

    3. Susan M says:

      While I am in favor of bookstores, not just on the UWS but … everywhere, I am concerned that a new store will eat into Barnes & Noble’s sales and ultimately one of these stores will not make it.

      • Jess says:

        Who would have thought anyone would be worrying about Barnes & Nobles sales… Such sweet revenge for small bookstore owners to potentially see them put out to pasture one day….

        • Woody says:

          Only a miserable person would wish that a business like B&N that offers such a huge selection, keeps long hours, and employs so many people would go out of business. Small book stores are quaint but they don’t compete on many levels. B&N is a better business model than a small bookstore for a large urban city.

          • Kitty H. says:

            If all of us – supporters of B&N and the small independents as well – refrained from ever buying books online and patronized only brick-and-mortar stores large or small, there might be enough business to go around to keep all these merchants afloat. When I don’t want to dislodge myself from home, I call or email a local bookstore and they mail me my order.

            • Woody says:

              I wish more people expressed this view rather than wishing for the demise of an ongoing business because it doesn’t meet their tastes.

      • ellen m. massey says:

        I wouldn’t sweat over Barbes and Nobles. They’ve driven many an independent bookstore out of business.

      • Ellen Massey says:

        I wouldn’t worry about Barnes & Noble‘s. They put enough independent bookstores in a business

    4. HFF says:

      Hopefully they have learned to treat their customers better. The employees of the old store were incredibly rude and nasty, i stopped going there

      • lynn says:

        Do you mean the way B&N employees treat their customers (now)? Maybe a little competition will make both businesses step up their game.

        • Woody says:

          I couldn’t disagree more. Have never had a bad experience dealing with B&N employees. They are very helpful and polite. Maybe it’s your attitude that’s the problem.

          • Mark says:

            …says the poster who shows an ugly attitude…

          • lynn says:

            I have an attitude problem because I haven’t had the same experience as you?

          • Jess says:

            Wow, Woody, you sure are a pleasant person. Lots of aggression behind your posts. This is a conversation, not a time for mudslinging.

            • Woody says:

              That’s pretty funny. I posted a positive retort to two posters who denigrated both the old store’s employees and current B&N employees. And you called my post aggressive?

              I have no problem suggesting that the customer might have an attitude problem and is not always right if they’re too demanding and disrespectful to employees. That is not too far-fetched on the UWS where whining is a sport.

            • Mark says:

              And you just won a gold medal.
              You only get the silver for unintentional irony.

            • dannyboy says:

              Mark, that’s really good, using that sports theme.

              I was working with the dissonance created between “That is not too far-fetched on the UWS where whining is a sport.” and “Maybe it’s your attitude that’s the problem.”, but you nailed it!

    5. Alex says:


    6. Paul says:

      The insufferable snobbery of the sales staff played a major role in undercutting business in the 81st St. store. What B&N provided was as much relief as it was competition.

    7. Diamond says:

      Great that a bookstore is coming in and not just another bank or CVS!! Hopefully though, that will not drive BARNS AND NOBLE on 82nd St. out. Love that store!

    8. Cat says:

      Thank goodness! I live about 50 feet away and was wondering if we were going to get another loud, nasty restaurant/bar or something good. This is better than I expected!

    9. Lori says:

      What wonderful news! Shakespeare and Co. was a fantastic bookstore with a great selection of merchandise. So excited!!!!

    10. Chris says:


    11. Shirley Z says:

      Hooray! Can’t happen soon enough!

    12. Jean Mensing says:

      That’s MY block. I’m so excited. What a joy to once again have a book store to browse in and read in and lounge in and print your very own books not to mention other books….AND TO BUY real books. Thank you whatever Company you are.


    13. Louise Clay says:

      What a great thing to hear!! The UWS isn’t the UWS without a great independent bookstore!

    14. ellen m. massey says:

      That is soooo nice❗️❗️❗️

    15. Tom Lee says:

      Great news. Hopefully this added competition brings the insane prices down a bit.

    16. Lauren Lese says:

      This is the best news ever. I cannot wait to have a bookstore in the neighborhood again.

    17. Kate says:

      This is great news. That whole stretch of Broadway is pure sadness. RIP Dan Japanese, RIP Luce, RIP Barcibo Mediterraneo, RIP Trevi Nails, RIP every single store or restaurant that dares to open between 66th and 70th.

    18. Adam says:

      Great news – now we can stop visiting that other bookstore on 82nd and Columbus that teaches children to engage in intifada.

    19. YouGotMail says:

      Too bad it’s opening down to 69th St. and Broadway it will never work… it’s too far downtown. As a very long time resident of the Upper West side and remembering the store so very well like it was my library. Shakespeare is a store that is meant for only the West 80s. Of course all my best of luck for them. You could never repeat the past.

      • TheBestOfTheWest says:

        I totally agree with you Billy…you can never repeat the past and Shakespeare & Company book store was the foundation for the movie in 1997 “You Got Mail“ and the store should be in the West 80s and will never be the same. The 1970s/80s/90s was a very special time period for us here on the upper West side. We were very gifted in many ways…not like today’s UWS, not the same anymore and never will be. BUT WE HAD IT ALL!!!

    20. marcy l. says:

      They were not very nice or customer-oriented. Full price books and they refused to gift wrap – all they needed was one of those giant rolls of wrapping paper and plain ribbon or even just a sticker!

    21. Cowboy Jack says:

      Good to see the fight going the other way, as Barnes and Noble is downsizing!


    22. robert says:

      While I LOVE to read “real” books and think its great that there will be another bookstore…… Shakespeare Books on the UWS was a mess. The staff were well know as being always easily offended by people that asked questions and gave surly service. Long before B&N came in the place was dirty and dusty. B&N was just the final nail in their coffin. Hopefully the new owners realize that they need to carry a wide variety of subjects. And when it comes to politics and history especially not just far left wing treaties about how wrong the world is and who is the most victimized by it. Through the worlds history we all were, just pick your time and group.

    23. Amy says:

      This is GREAT news!! I saw lots of people in the former deli space the other day so maybe that’s where it will be.

    24. Susan says:

      I am delighted to have Shakespeare & Co. back in the neighborhood! Always a wonderful place to browse, and a storehouse of books you might not find elsewhere.

    25. Paulina Rieloff says:

      I am delighted I was so upset when Barns & Noble was change for Century 21 cheap clothing store and Scribner for Beneton , Rissole with the Lalique windows For Henry Bendels (At least good taste) but we are loosing culture architechture art music to low class bad taste landlords and patrind. Pathetic. I felt we were turning into a bad taste shoping mall.

    26. Meg says:

      Oh this should be tremendous! I saw a business like group celebrating as they cleaned up parts of Albertino’s the other day – I wonder whether that will turn into the cafe portion. The Shakespeare location on the east side has kids storytimes. Crossing my fingers that this location will too. Yay for something fun opening on the neighborhood!

    27. Alex says:

      Laughing. Shakespeare & Co. literally closed TWENTY-TWO years ago, and there are still cranky New Yorkers holding on to their valuable memories of how they didn’t like the staff there

      • Steen says:

        I was thinking the same thing! Carrying on and moaning about 1996, as if the same staff will be back to haunt them.

      • UWSer who doesn't need to prove anything says:

        I too was thinking the same thing. So many of the people who comment on this blog think they own the Upper West Side.

        I bet some of these people hating on the original store are just trying to establish that they’ve been on the UWS that long.

        • dannyboy says:

          “So many of the people who comment on this blog think they own the Upper West Side.

          I bet some of these people hating on the original store are just trying to establish that they’ve been on the UWS that long.”

          written by an “UWSer who doesn’t need to prove anything”

          i don’t think so

      • Bill says:

        So true, Alex. Now they’re stuck with shopping at Barnes & Grumble.

    28. Laurie says:

      Can a reopening of the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas be far behind? Hope not.

    29. Diane Cadoret, Pay.D says:

      This is fantastic news! Hallelujah! We are greatly in need of food for the heart and soul on Broadway at 69th st. Welcome dear SHAKESPEARE and Co.

    30. Lois Stavsky says:

      So happy! ‘best news I’ve heard in awhile! Looking forward—

    31. Steve Barber says:

      Go have a look at the current Shakespeare @ 939 Lex, especially if you haven’t wandered in within the last year or so. It is a cafe and Hunter student hangout first, and a bookstore second or third. I felt like I was in the way there trying to shop for books, and left pretty quickly. Lovely spot for a croissant and a latter, though.

    32. John Russell says:

      Great news!
      For those who find bookstore employees insufferable, I agree that they can be, but AT LEAST THEY KNOW THEIR BOOKS and can offer intelligent alternatives. A great bookstore almost invariably has clerks who are underpaid and overqualified–and have little patience with dumb questions, i.e.: “Do you have the book about the frogs?? It’s green…”!
      Can you blame them? So, suck it up customers and THINK!

    33. dannyboy says:

      Let’s support our local bookshop. Less Amazon

    34. Jen says:

      Wonderful news.

    35. Wendy says:

      Wow ! I miss some of Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Ah, bookworms who have good taste; [pun , ?].

    36. meh says:

      What an underwhelming addition to the area.

    37. Eager for the reopening of one of my favorite places on my native UWS!

    38. yoyomama43 says:

      I love it! Wonderful news!!!!

      But that’s such a crappy, beaten-down location.

      Too bad it couldn’t go into the old Isabella’s restaurant on Columbus and 77th or one of the bazillion (and large) empty storefronts on a more pedestrian-friendly block than B’way.

    39. Tom D. says:

      Minor quibble about the article: It wasn’t the 82nd St B&N that killed Shakespeare. It took some time but Shakespeare responded to the competition and stepped up their game. Probably they were struggling and slowing sinking, but they seemed to be hanging in there. Note that the 82nd St B&N opened in 1993 and Shakespeare didn’t close til 1996.

      What killed Shakespeare was _another_ B&N opening at 66th St.

      If you want to blame the 82nd St B&N for stomping on local retail, it was Eeyore’s that went under fast.


    40. says:

      Hey = have you seen Book Off ? a used Book & DVD store near 85th st and Amsterdam? Just opened 2018