The shop officially opened its doors to the public on Dec. 8 at 26-09 Jackson Ave. This is the business’s fourth location.
Chris Doeblin, a co-owner of the bookstores, said that Rockrose Development approached him to open the space in Long Island City earlier this year. When several Barnes & Noble locations throughout Queens closed, the borough was left with a dearth of bookstores.
Book Culture was co-founded by Doeblin and his partner at the time, Cliff Simms, in 1997. The Long Island City location is 2,300 square feet and the basement is dedicated to children’s books and toys, with a reading room for young adult and middle readers. Brightly colored shelves are stacked with books, stuffed animals and comfortable cushions.
“We have extravagant plans for kids stuff there in terms of setting up readings and Sunday book readings,” he said.
The first floor features new releases and a wide array of genres including literature, fiction, mystery, history, sociology, science, nature, poetry, cook books, picture books and more. Books dedicated to New York and its history are also available and Doeblin believes they will be interesting to the tourists who visit cultural institutions like MoMA PS1, which are located nearby.
Staff will also see what genres the neighborhood is seeking to make decisions about stocking the shelves.
Book Culture offers subscription options that provide a gift-wrapped book, handwritten letter and a bookmark every three months, every two months or every month. The subscription is curated by one of the store’s indie booksellers and readers can choose between six genres like new and noteworthy fiction or nonfiction, picture books and poetry.
Though the bookstore has been open for less than a week, Doeblin said the reception from the community has been great.
“Within a couple of hours there was a lineup of strollers and moms that came in,” he said. “We’re so happy to be in Long Island City, particularly in Queens more generally, because everyone is so committed to making this a great neighborhood.”
Doeblin said he has met a large swath of community leaders, including Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, major landlords like Tishman Speyer, groups like the Gantry Parent Association and Long Island City Partnership and local business owners — all of whom seem to be excited to see a new bookshop moving in.
“We really hope that were going to contribute to the community there in a profound way,” he said. “We’re really glad that we came to Long Island City.”
Book Culture is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.