“Please join us in bringing a genuine independent bookstore and gathering place to our fair city,” write the co-owners of Little City Books in Hoboken, on their Indiegogo campaign page.
Hoboken did have such a bookstore back in the late ’80s and ’90s — BlackWater Books — and Little City Books, which is scheduled to open May 2 at 100 Bloomfield Ave. (at the corner of First Street), will follow the BlackWater formula, to an extent.
But the co-owners plan to offer more events than BlackWater did, including author readings and signings, musical performances, play readings and storytelling for children.
“We’ll be bigger than they were,” says singer-songwriter Kate Jacobs, who co-owns the 1,200-square-foot store with literary agent Emmanuelle Morgen and former investment banker Donna Garban. “They were pre-Amazon, so everything’s different now for bookstores. Bookstores are extraordinary multi-taskers.
“We sat down with Elena (Skye) and David (Cogswell), who had BlackWater, and were reminiscing about their time there, which was a much simpler time. They didn’t have to do quite as many subsidiary activities as we will have to do.
“I think it’s a new model, actually. I think the bookstore now is a community center and a gathering place and a cultural center in a town, more than just a little shop.”
Watchung Booksellers in Montclair — which bills itself as “Your Community Bookstore,” and has a calendar loaded with special events — is a good example of this new kind of establishment.
“If we’re modeling ourselves on somebody, it’s probably them,” Jacobs says. “I think Hoboken could really support something like that.”
Jacobs, who has been active in Hoboken’s music scene since the early ’90s, has always had a literary streak to her songwriting, and in 1996, she and artist Nancy Carpenter made one of her songs into a children’s book, “A Sister’s Wish.” She says she will perform at the store herself, perhaps in June.