The new Prospero’s Uptown Books at 3600 Broadway isn’t just another bookstore. After all, bookstores as we knew them are a dying breed. One of the many victims of technology and the Internet along with magazines, newspapers, CDs, DVDs and books themselves.
These are fast-changing times and in order to survive bookstores need to have a lot going for them. Like a vast array of offerings, competitive pricing and comfortable, attractive digs. And personality, food, libations, art, entertainment, a great location and a reasonable overhead wouldn’t hurt.
“This is the third Prospero’s store,” says owner Will Leathem. “We have one in Blue Springs and of course the one on 39th Street which we’re expanding also.”
Perhaps you recall the expression, size matters.
“The Prospero’s Uptown is three times the size of our 39th Street store,” Leathem says. “And it’s all on one floor, street level with convenient parking.”
With art and furniture galleries on either side, it’s part of the blossoming new Uptown Shoppes retail center that’s soon to include a 31,000 square foot flea market.
As for the frou-frou, “We have a dining and cafe area up front with coffee and sandwiches and some vegan dishes,” Leathem says. “And we’ll be doing First Friday art openings every other month starting in February.”
“We offer comics, movies and graphic novels,” Leathem says. “We didn’t have the space for all that on 39th Street. And we have a live performance area where we can do movies, films, poetry reading and book signings. We sell new and used books – particularly of local writers – and we have used CDs, albums and a lot of vintage vinyl.”
“We also have a rare books room,” Leathem says. “We got a few books from Spivey’s and (landlord) Larry Sells will be carrying some conspiracy collectibles.
“We also have a kids section with a crafts table and we’re thinking about doing a family New Year’s Eve party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with snacks and food for the family. You know, everybody’s safe and goes home early.”
The wildest thing thus far since opening earlier this fall?
Other hoped for amenities include serving food full time and a baby grand piano for musicians like Mark Lowrey to perform on.
“Did you know that Barclay Martin‘s first show was at my store on 39th Street?” Leathem says.