Every so often, some news source somewhere declares that the demise of independent bookstores is imminent. They typically blame online retailers or the rise of eReaders and point out staggeringly scary statistics. However, there are a few brave shops out there that, despite these claims, are busy proving statistics wrong, and Ponce City Market’s Posman Books is one of them. We recently chatted with Posman Books’ Vice President, Robert Fader, about what makes the store one with staying power. We’re certain you’ll find Posman Books to be a destination that defies the stereotypes just as we did.
Posman Books had humble beginnings as a college bookstore serving textbooks to students at places like Brooklyn College, NYU and Barnard University, but that was only the beginning. Robert says, “As the market for textbooks began to change, we became more interested in the general retail experience … When Amazon came along and began to dominate online bookselling, our response was to make our stores even more inviting.”
The shift is what morphed Posman Books into what it is today. When shopping at the retailer, you might go in searching for the latest bestseller, but you’ll leave with an art print or Japanese collectible figurine too. Needless to say, it’s full of surprises.
Since the book market is so large, Robert realizes it’s unrealistic to carry every title. Instead, he curates Posman’s collection by selecting the most interesting titles along with the most eclectic mix of cards, knick-knacks, trinkets and paper goods. “I’m constantly looking for new and interesting items from all over the world,” he explains. “I attend gift shows, pore over catalogs and scout out cool stores wherever I go. I’m always on the lookout.” Being on the lookout has proven successful. The store’s products are diverse, and the shop embraces its extensive selection, an evident hallmark of the Posman Books brand. “I think people can tell on entering the store that they are not in for a cookie-cutter experience. I guess that means our specialty is being special.”
Exploring the tables and rotating displays, you’ll unknowingly be pulled into Posman Books’ playground. Tables stacked with colorful book covers invite you to pick them up and peruse. Carousels filled with greeting cards, enamel pins, stickers, pouches and patches welcome curious hands and inquisitive minds. As you meander the expansive selection, you’re sure to notice a few surprises. A book with a hilariously inappropriate title here, and a coffee mug with a swear word or two there. These little touches remind you that books are meant to be fun, and intellect doesn’t necessarily mean “buttoned-up.” In fact, we’re confident that something in Posman Books is bound to make you giggle.
If this playful atmosphere is evident anywhere in the store, it’s in the children’s section, which takes up the entire back wall of the shop. You’ll find children’s classics like the Junie B. Jones series next to new picture books and even Japanese sticker collections. Robert says kids were at the forefront when designing the space. “Being the father of a 10-year-old probably influenced my thinking on the children’s section. The cubbies were inspired by my daughter, who loves small spaces. Kids can’t wait to curl up in those cubbies with a good book, which is also nice because it gives their parents a chance to relax and browse.”
We’re lucky to have Posman Books join our Atlanta ranks. The shop is the retailer’s first location outside of NYC, but because of Ponce City Market’s Jamestown Properties developers, Atlanta was a natural fit. “They have a knack for honoring a historic space while at the same time creating an exciting new atmosphere,” Robert explains. “Ponce City Market is not just a place to go shopping: it’s a place to live, to work, to gather with friends, to celebrate special occasions and to connect with Atlanta’s wonderful community.” For a store that just opened in November 2016, Posman Books’ sure does have a grasp on their Atlanta market. You’ll find a table dedicated to all things Atlanta, and a few other nods to the South throughout the store as well. “Atlanta’s culinary reputation keeps us on our game with the latest cookbooks featuring Southern chefs, of course,” says Robert.
As Posman Books settles into its new home, we’ll continue to see it spread its wings. Not only does the shop have children’s storytelling hours and author appearances, but it’s becoming a part of the community too. Over the holidays, Posman Books participated in a book drive benefitting Hope-Hill Elementary School. A bookstore that supports the neighborhood, too? That speaks volumes.
Robert says to keep an eye on Posman Books over the next few months to really see where it’s headed. “As for what’s new on our shelves,” he teases, “it’s always changing, so you’ll just have to come and see.” Trust us, Robert. We will.
Posman Books is located at Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. Learn more at posmanbooks.com.
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