In a splash of serendipity usually saved for rom coms, former BW contributor Jem Wierenga recently acquired the charming 27-year-old Hyde Park Bookstore. Wierenga, a former manager at A Novel Adventure, walked into the 13th Street used-book store to chat with former owner Russell Barnes two short days after Barnes made the decision to sell the space. Wierenga jumped on the opportunity.
Wierenga is now in the process of painting shelves and sorting through piles of dusty books for the store’s grand re-opening as Hyde Park Books on Friday, Oct. 29, from 5-10 p.m. Though the store will remain a predominantly used-book store—with an eclectic collection of vintage books on architecture, automobiles and engineering—Wierenga plans to bring in new books as well, like contemporary fiction and NPR bestsellers. The store is being revamped to include more lounging space and Wierenga also plans to bring in authors for regular readings and workshops. The grand re-opening will feature a reading by screenwriter/poet J. Reuben Appelman and indie music by Jody Bateman.
Though Wierenga acknowledges that this is a tough time for bookstores—with the challenges presented by the Internet and the Kindle—he insists that there will always be a place for physical books.
“You can’t take an e-book in the bath,” he laughed.