The eighth Books & Books store located in Pinecrest, officially opened earlier this month with the aid of two authors: a Pulitzer winner and FIU professor.
The former pop-up officially cemented itself as a part of the Pinecrest community at the Sunland Plaza Shopping Center on Dec.3.
Longtime residents and nearby elected officials said they don’t believe the city has ever had a bookstore, and certainly not since its founding in 1996
Owner Mitchell Kaplan opened a temporary store in May in order to test its waters.
“The community acceptance of us has been amazing,” he said. “Very quickly it became apparent that [the bookstore] would work.”
On the day of the grand opening, the Pinecrest store invited local authors Dave Barry and Les Standiford to mingle with fans and sign their books. Standiford is the director of FIU’s creative writing program and his book “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” was recently made into a feature film.
For authors, independent bookstores are a great opportunity to meet readers, said Barry, a longtime columnist for the Miami Herald who won journalism’s top prize for commentary in 1988. The grand opening was the first of many events, bookstore employees said, where readers can meet their favorite authors and get involved in art and literature.
“You wont find anything like this in any other city, what Mitchell has done with the book scene,” Barry said.
As part of the official grand opening celebrations there were cookies, brownies, key lime pies and more baked goods being distributed to the guests from Fireman Derek’s Bake Shop & Cake.
Among the people attending was Palmetto Bay Councilwoman Karyn Cunningham. She was happy about having the bookstore in the area and believed that it will be very successful.
“The really cool part about Books & Books is that is more than just a bookstore, it is a community gathering place,” she said. “It’s really an institution in South Florida.”
More than 60 book lovers crowded into the bookstore to commemorate the grand opening. Kids made bookmarks while adults sipped champagne while browsing the shelves, some making use of a 20 percent discount available during the event.
Books & Books specializes in local authors and aims to be like your neighborhood bar where they will always remember your name, said Kaplan.
The first store opened 35 years ago in Coral Gables, and stores across South Florida as well as to Grand Cayman. Kaplan hopes to expand his current pop-up store in Coconut Grove into a permanent location by the end of the year.
The new store is located at 11297 S. Dixie Highway. Store hours are from 10 a.m to 8 p.m.
For more information, visit booksandbooks.com.