Walking by Community Bookstore in Cobble Hill, it's impossible not to marvel at its existence: A helter skelter labyrinth stacked floor to ceiling with works both seminal and obscure, paperback and hardcover, thin and thousands-of-pages thick, it was only a matter of time before it succumbed to the upscale wiles of its surrounding tony neighborhood.
Community Bookstore is, in fact, shutting down, but it's not sad—at least not for 70-year-old owner John Scioli. According to the Times, Scioli, who has run the Court Street shop for the last 30 years, is closing down by his own volition. He has the luxury of owning the accompanying three story brownstone in which the store is housed, which he has agreed to sell, "after offers piled up like the donated books on his stoop," according to the paper. Some buyout proposals "were actually slipped under his door."
It's a good deal for Scioli, who netted $5.5 million for the property and has a full year to clear out his estimated 6,000 to 10,000 books, with another two years to clean out his upstairs apartment. He paid $500,000 for the place in 1980.
The building's buyers own several other retail properties around the city, all of which are populated by major chains like Victoria's Secret and Patagonia. Though no concrete plans have been announced, it seems reasonable to assume Community Bookstore will soon be a Community Urban Outfitters or something similarly corporate and grim.
The store is loose with its set hours, but neighbors know when it's open by the presence of a chain-smoking Scioli perched on a chair outside its doors. He knows exactly what he's got in stock, somehow, and he's still accepting donations. “You never know who might want something,” he told the paper. “Believe me, I tried to go out of business two or three times. I can’t believe people still put up with this place. But no matter what I did, people just kept buying books.”