Plus, five other authors who own bookstores

By Ruth Kinane
Updated December 06, 2016 at 07:30 PM EST
Desiree Navarro/Getty Images

After hearing that her local bookstore and former place of employment, Brooklyn’s BookCourt, was shuttering its doors, Emma Straub, author of Modern Lovers, and The Vacationers, decided to look into opening an independent bookstore of her own in the same area.

BookCourt began back in 1981 when it opened its doors in the Cobble Hill Neighborhood of Brooklyn and has since hosted the book launches of many authors, Straub included. The shop will close for good on Dec. 31, when its owners Henry Zook and Mary Gannett retire.

On receiving news of BookCourt’s closure, Straub took to her website to share her sadness. “A neighborhood without an independent bookstore is a body without a heart,” she writes. “And so we’re building a new heart.” She goes on to promise that the community won’t be lonely for long. “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.”

Although, there’s no confirmed opening date for the new store as yet, Straub seems determined to bring books back to the neighborhood and keep them there for years to come.

“Books are magic, and we want to make sure that this neighborhood is positively coated in bookish fairydust for decades to come,” she writes.

But the Modern Lovers novelist isn’t the only author to step in and open her own store when faced with the loss of a beloved spot. Check out these five other authors who also own bookstores across the country:

Ann Patchett, Parnassus Books

Heidi Ross

After yet another local bookstore closed down in her hometown of Nashville in 2011, the Commonwealth author opened her own store, telling the New York Times, “I have no interest in living in a city without a bookstore.”

Louise Erdrich, Birchbark Books

Paul Emmel

Acclaimed author of The Round House, Louise Erdrich is the proud owner of Birchbark Books in Minneapolis. The independent bookstore focuses on Native American literature and community. According to the store’s website their “books are lovingly chosen,” and the “store is tended with care.”

Larry McMurtry, Booked Up


Located in Larry McMurtry’s hometown of Archer City, Texas, Booked Up carries around 200,000 scholarly reads. The novelist and screenwriter purchases all the store’s stock and has done so over the last four decades.

Jonathan Lethem, Red Gap Books

Rommel Demano/Getty Images

Red Gap Books is a small, used bookstore that shelves rare antiquarian books in Maine and is owned in part The Fortress of Solitude author, Jonathan Lethem. The bookstore specializes in diaries and journals, gardening, history, fine bindings, collected letters, travel, and New England literature.

Jeff Kinney, An Unlikely Story


Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney opened his cozy and charming store, An Unlikely Story in his adopted hometown of Plainville, Mass., in 2015. On the second floor of the converted general store, there’s also an events space called The Second Story that hosts community events including readings, workshops, yoga, karaoke, wine tastings, and game nights for families.