Despite E-Books, Independent Bookstore Gambling on Downtown Las Vegas


The second independent bookstore in the state, and the only one in Las Vegas, opened its doors on Saturday, despite the rise in E-books and demise of bigger retailers.

Borders Books was forced to close its doors, while Barnes and Noble has closed some stores and moved more aggressively into the online world, competing with Amazon and big-box retailers.

Through the trials and tribulations of the retail book business some smaller, independent book stores have succeeded and grown. It’s that business plan that Writer’s Block hopes to follow.

The downtown Las Vegas bookstore, which sits across the street from Atomic Liquors on Fremont Street, is owned by Scott Seeley and Drew Cohen.

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Seeley, co-founder and former executive director of 826NYC, said Writer’s Bloc will have a book-making area with book presses and screen-print equipment. He described it as equipment where people can produce hand-made books.

Seeley told KNPR's State of Nevada it’s also about creating a shopping experience that’s more personal, and a store designed in a way to make shoppers curious when they walk through the door.

For Cohen, it’s all about the books. He is putting the finishing touches on the store, stocking shelves with nonfiction, fiction, business arts and design and children’s books. Cohen says he wants people to tell him what the shop needs.

For almost 30 years the only other independent bookstore in the state, Sundance Books and Music in Reno has survived. The bookstore is located in the historic Levy House, a 4,000-square-foot mansion built in 1906, next to the Nevada Museum of Art and part of Reno’s burgeoning Midtown District.

Christine Kelly, owner of Sundance, described her customer base as young and old. She says people who like to wander and look through the stacks of books are drawn to her store. She said despite tablets and smart phones, plenty of readers want to handle a book before they buy it.


Scott Seeley, co-owner of Writer’s Block

Drew Cohen, co-owner of Writer’s Block

Christine Kelly, owner of Sundance Books and Music

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