July 3 – July 10, 2008 Edition

Two Legendary
Close Up Shop

WASHINGTON, DC AND NEW YORK/7/1/08–Two legendary bookstores, Olsson’s Books & Records in the Penn Quarter of Washington, D.C., and Strand Bookstore in New York City, are closing their doors this summer as a result of financial strains.

The 15-year-old Penn Quarter store location is owned by financially troubled Olsson’s Books & Records, whose founder John Olsson plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It is one of the oldest independent bookstores in Washington, DC According to the Washington Post (June 28, 2008), Olsson’s has been pressed by creditors who have filed claims against the company’s inventories, and by rising overhead costs. Olsson’s closed the Penn Quarter store at the end of June, and will evaluate its ability to operate its remaining five properties. The store’s music sales have plummeted from 50% of sales to 15%, while rents and taxes escalated. Earlier in June, three large publishers­Hachette Book Group, Random House and Penguin Group­filed a petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to place Olsson Enterprises, dba Olsson’s Books & Records, into involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

In New York’s Manhattan, the Strand Book Store announced it would close its Strand Book Annex at 95 Fulton Street on August 31. The 15,000 square foot store has served lower Manhattan for nearly 25 years, but the landlord planned to raise the Strand’s rent by 300%. The Strand’s flagship store, located in a building it owns at 828 Broadway, and Central Park kiosks will not be closed.