Next steps for Harlem’s Hue Man Bookstore

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Harlem’s African American bookstore closes — and will launch its new event format with Miami Heat Dwayne Wade on September 6.

If you have visited Harlem’s Hue Man Bookstore, then you will know how much it will be missed in the community.

Excerpt from a statement posted on www.huemanbookstore.com.

Farewell & Welcome Hue-Man Family!

As Carol (my middle name) Burnette would say, ‘we’re so glad we had this time together, but now it’s time for us to say so long’. Ten years of amazing friendship and camaraderie have gone by way too soon. On July 31, 2012, Hue- Man will close its current location. We all know that there is a season for everything under heaven and the season of “traditional book” selling has come to a close.

When you do something for five hundred years and it works why change? But change has happened and the publishing industry is experiencing a new reality. Faced with tremendous social pressures to deliver the next big idea, celebrity books have become the interim hype, yet even that is not a sustainable model for an industry in turmoil. As stop gap measures run out, the industry will be forced to reconcile the future place of “real books” in their business models and with continuous rumble and tumult, new ideas will percolate on how to deliver that new experience to the new consumer of books. No matter how apocalyptic the predictions are for the industry, it is my belief that books are here to stay in one iteration or the other.

Closing the existing format of Hue-Man is forward thinking on our part and as we take pause to re-imagine the future of books and how to ensure that their purpose of entertaining, imparting knowledge and honing creativity is preserved, we find no viable alternative but to go back to the drawing board. Closing our beloved bookstore, I assure you was a very hard decision for us. Yet, the confluence of events, changing landscape, the end of our lease and the international expansion of our vision, closing our physical location was the only sensible decision we could make. There is no way to re-imagine the bookstore of the future in our current space. To try to do so would be a stop gap and a waste of resources.

In making this monumental decision we gave significant consideration to the community, and to each and every one of you. Loyal customers such as Ms. Phoebe, Ms. Campbell, Valarie, Saida, Brenda, Joe Morgan, Elinor Campbell Ms. Yvonne and her sweet grandson Jaden (He is ours too!), kept surfacing in our hearts. After all, isn’t community what a neighborhood bookstore is all about? Suffice it to say we took solace in the gift we were able to give. We will cherish the up close and personal experiences with so many amazing people, some of them no longer with us. People such as Erica Kennedy, Rodney King, E. Lynn, Slade Morrison, L.A Banks and veterans such as LeRoy Neiman, Rosa Guy, Manning Marable and Professor Derrick Bell are gone but gave us memories not soon forgotten. What a time we had! What an amazing journey!

So what next? While we are figuring out our amazing bookstore of the future, I will be working on several projects which will focus on giving ethnic writers an advantage in the marketplace. We will continue to be involved in the publishing of books and will ramp up our agency services to writers and publishers alike. Though we can not give you the future in a nutshell, we can tell you that on September 6th 2012 at 7:30Pm we will launch our new event format with Miami Heat Dwayne Wade. Partnering with a state of the art facility we can begin to create the kind of multi-platform customer experience we’ve always imagined. Stay tuned