Good news, local readers. Author Emma Straub’s beloved Carroll Garden bookstore, Books are Magic, is expanding to another Brooklyn neighborhood!
The store announced a second location will open at 122 Montague St. in Brooklyn Heights in late October.
“One consequence of opening a physical space is that almost immediately, people start asking when you’re going to open a second,” Straub, her husband and co-owner Mike Fusco, and the Books Are Magic staff said in a joint statement announcing the news. They liken the experience to having a baby and strangers asking about siblings, but in this case, real estate developers were hitting up the Books Are Magic inbox with rentable space in Manhattan and Los Angeles. It was a lot and also didn’t suit the Books are Magic brand, which has built a home in a cozy corner shop in a residential neighborhood.
Of course, Books are Magic’s success and popularity since opening in 2017 has raised some questions about expansion, and a regular commute to school in Brooklyn Heights intrigued the Fusco-Straubs, entrepreneurially and architecturally. After looking at half a dozen spaces that were ruled out for all the typical New York reasons (too small, too many stairs, etc.), this spring they stopped into the former spit of a Housing Works and of Fishs Eddy, and felt a connection to the retail space, which is, conveniently, next to an ice cream shop.
It was just right—too good to say ’no’ to, in fact,” they say. “We signed the lease, and have started building a new bookstore. The friend who helped us build the store on Smith Street is helping us again, and right now, we are brainstorming with the booksellers about what the space should be.”
When Books are Magic 2.0 opens late this fall, they’ll be recreating a legacy of independent booksellers on Montague Street, in the tradition of the since-closed Cousin Arthur’s and Our Mutual Friend. The books will be curated, the merch will be trendy and surprises are promised. Spoiler: The family is complete, Books are Magic says: “No more! Just these two.”
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.