BookCourt, one of the city's loveliest independent bookstores, will close after 35 years on Court Street. Owners Henry Zook and Mary Gannett confirmed the closure this morning, announcing in a statement that they'll be retiring from bookselling after New Year's Eve.

Zook and Gannett, who are husband and wife, opened BookCourt at 163 Court Street in September 1981, and expanded into 161 Court Street in 1996. The shop's selection ranges from titles by small print publishing companies to bestselling self-help books, and their event space has hosted readings from the likes of Junot Diaz, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Don DeLillo, in addition to local authors. They also have a thriving children's section, which they noted in their public statement: "We realize that BookCourt’s closing leaves a void in the neighborhood and the industry. We especially want to tell the neighborhood children that we will miss you. Your enthusiasm has been a big part of what made our jobs and the store so wonderful."

BookCourt managed to thrive in an era in which independent bookstores were threatened by megastores like Barnes & Noble, online retailers like Amazon, and the advent of digital readers like the Kindle. Zook and Gannett's son, Zachary Zook, managed the shop from 2008 to 2014, and in 2011 he told the Daily News that BookCourt wanted to encourage children to love reading physical books. "In terms of independent book retailers, there is always a crisis. First, it was the computer, then mall stores, then big box chains, then Amazon, and now e-books," he said. "And while all those things have certainly affected us, New Yorkers still want to buy a physical book from a family-run store."

Zook and Gannett own both 161 and 163 Court Street. When reached for additional comment, Gannett said she did not know who would be taking over BookCourt's space.

You can read BookCourt's entire public statement below:

To Our Customers, Neighbors, and Friends:

Since September 12, 1981, the day we opened BookCourt, we have been proud to serve this remarkable community. After 35 years of rewarding work, we have made the decision to retire from bookselling and close BookCourt. Our last day of business will be Saturday, December 31, 2016.

We want to thank our Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill neighbors for their loyal support. Against many odds, BookCourt grew and flourished in a time when many independent bookstores closed. It’s important to note that in addition to your support, BookCourt was able to thrive through economic and industry turbulence because we invested in the neighborhood and the real estate which housed the bookstore. We could not have survived the challenges of rent increases, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon otherwise, and we are thankful that we were able to provide this community with an independent bookstore for many years.

Along the way we were committed to reinvesting in the store and expanded it three times, most recently in 2008 when we built the “greenhouse”, which includes our event space. Gaining that venue gave us the opportunity to host authors, from the world renowned to local favorites, helping to establish BookCourt and Brooklyn as literary destinations. We are proud that all our events - from a small, intense panel discussion to a celebrated, standing-room-only book launch, to our legendary Harry Potter Midnight Release parties - were always free and open to the public.

We realize that BookCourt’s closing leaves a void in the neighborhood and the industry. We especially want to tell the neighborhood children that we will miss you. Your enthusiasm has been a big part of what made our jobs and the store so wonderful. Seeing you curled up on the bench, the couch, or on the floor reading, brought joy to all of us every day.

Along with thanking our customers, we want to thank everyone (and there are hundreds!) who ever spent their days and nights working as a BookCourt bookseller. We are proud that BookCourt was your landing spot, and have been moved by seeing it remain your touchstone; a place to which you return. We take pride in the many lifelong friendships (and in some cases, romances) we watched grow among you and which will outlive the store itself. You set us apart, gave the store its personality and charm, and have been its public face. We will always appreciate your dedication, patience, and good will that made BookCourt a very special place to be.

BookCourt has truly been a family business. Our accomplishments were supported by our parents (especially in the early years) and our children. Our son Zachary was BookCourt’s events manager and general manager through the crucial 2008 expansion, and in many ways he is responsible for solidifying our reputation and making the store what it is today. He dedicated his twenties to the store. As he moved on to other pursuits in 2014, we are now doing the same.

We encourage everyone reading this to find and support other indie bookstores, here in Brooklyn or wherever you may be. While bookstores do close for various reasons, we want to remind you that many more are flourishing and your support is vital to their success.

This is our only public statement about the closing of BookCourt. We know the store will be missed, and we are very proud of what we accomplished at 163 and 161 Court Street. We hope you’ll wish us well as we move on from what started as the dream of two 27-year-olds, and ended up exceeding all expectations, personally and professionally.

With our love and gratitude,
Henry M. Zook and Mary B. Gannett
Owners, BookCourt

Update 11:04 a.m.

: Author Emma Straub announced in a blog post on her website this morning that she and husband Michael Fusco-Straub have secured initial funding for a bookstore in the Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens/Boerum Hill area in hopes of replacing BookCourt:

A neighborhood without an independent bookstore is a body without a heart. And so we’re building a new heart.

We’ve spent the last few months looking at spaces, getting our math together, and thinking about light fixtures. We have secured initial funding and crossed our fingers. And so, dear Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Columbia Waterfront, and beyond…you won’t be lonely for long. Books are magic, and we want to make sure that this neighborhood is positively coated in bookish fairydust for decades to come.

You can sign up for updates on their process here.