Left Bank Books reopens in West Village

BY GABE HERMAN | Left Bank Books, which closed in 2016 after a 25-year run in the West Village, has reopened in the neighborhood.

A soft opening was held on Sat., March 30, at its new location, 41 Perry St., between W. Fourth St. and Waverly Place.

When Left Bank Books closed three years ago, it was on Eighth Ave. between W. 12th and Jane Sts. The used-book shop moved into that location in 2010 after a rent increase at its previous spot a block away on W. Fourth St., between W. 12th and Bank Sts.

After the 2016 closing, co-owners Erik DuRon and Jess Kuronen continued the brand online, calling it Left Bank 2.0.

The interior of the newly reopened Left Bank Books. (Photo by Michael Bucher)

DuRon and Kuronen started out as employees at the bookstore before eventually becoming owners, and always had the idea someday to reopen in a physical location, DuRon told this paper.

DuRon said that when the previous traditional business model of selling used books failed, he and Kuronen regrouped with the ultimate goal of a new model with more curated and eclectic works with varying prices. The new shop has books for as little as $10 and up to $10,000, and everything in between.

They were able to build up the company online until they could gather the resources for a brick-and-mortar store.

“That gave us room to be creative and try to build the foundation of the next version of the shop,” DuRon said.

During their year and a half running an online bookstore, they went to book fairs and trade shows, increased social-media presence and built up mailing lists.

The exterior of the reborn Left Bank Books, at 41 Perry St. (Photo by Michael Bucher)

DuRon has a background in rare and antiquarian bookselling going back to the late 1990s. As their online business grew, he was able to tap into that network, and they also found an angel investor last summer.

DuRon said they’re very happy with the new location on Perry St.

“The space is everything we want,” he said. “It’s a small shop on a beautiful, historic residential street, in the heart of the old West Village.”

He added that their new spot is still close to commercial traffic on nearby bigger streets, where higher rents were unaffordable for the store.

“But we don’t necessarily want to be there,” DuRon said. “We want to be a hidden gem that’s not too difficult to find.”

DuRon said they hope to get business from the many creative professionals living in the area, who could use books in fields like photography, fashion, design, music and theater.

“We’ve maintained the old shop’s DNA,” he said. “We scaled things up and reversed the formula. It’s not so much used and rare, but rare and used.”

The shop is holding a series of open houses every Thursday in April from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The social gatherings will include drinks, snacks and music to celebrate the reopening.

And the shop plans to host events and exhibits going forward. DuRon said there are no concrete details yet but there will likely be things like small exhibits of collections or archives that have a cohesive theme.

DuRon said there has been a good reaction so far to the new version of the shop.

“We had a very strong opening weekend,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest and buzz. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”

11 Responses to Left Bank Books reopens in West Village

  1. For owners’ attention:

    Create Facebook events for each of the April open houses and many will take notice.

  2. What happened to Kim the older gentleman that used to own and or run the store also put me on your mailing list for events in the future…thanks, mark johnson

    • Kim has "retired" to Austin, Texas, an actual Liberal city in the state often called The Music Capital of the US, where he teaches courses in Cinema History and American Music. Im still in email contact with him and I've sent him this article about the re-opening of the store. I hope he drops in for a visit….and a beer.

  3. George Broadhead

    Have not made as frequent trips to the Village because of the lack of special book stores, including Left Bank. That will change. I'm going to share the news of your reopeniing on Facebook pages I administer for Creative Writing classes at NYU and elsewhere. All the best.

  4. Is this the Rose Hobart who played second

    string to Kay Francis in black and

    white movies long long ago? If so,

    you are forever in my Memory Book !

    My Mom took my

    sister and I to see your films on Tuesday

    afternoons after school ! My father picked us

    up at 5. PM ….

    That was at the RKO Jefferson on 14 Street

    between 2nd and Third Avenues. (Or maybe

    Third and Fourth…)

    Oh how we all loved the movies! On Tuesday

    afternoon it was two for the price of one!

    TWO for a nickel. But we rarely had the

    nickel. When we did, we were supervised by

    a matron who ruled us with “an iron hand.”

    We had learned she got it from ‘the Mafia”

    who gave it to her to make sure we behaved!

  5. Bonnie Slotnick

    It wasn't a rent increase that pushed Left Bank off West 4th St–it was a landlord, HMV Realty (aka Henry and Joe Mendler) who REFUSED EVEN TO DISCUSS A NEW LEASE with the shop's owners. They did the same thing to me. They must have been so proud to have evicted not one, but two bookstores!

    I'm glad Left Bank found a new home, and it looks beautiful!

    Please support City Council bills that would force landlords to negotiate lease renewals with commercial tenants!

    • Glad for you Bonnie.

      Your special and used cookbook store landed.

      I have been a few times to your 28 east 2nd St location.

      Glad for Left Bank Books that they landed st 41 Perry St

      Road trip! Will be great visits!!!

      Good luck to all!

  6. Arthur>Book Leaves, Kim>Left Bank on W4th, then 8th Ave. Eric>Left Bank on Perry! You just can't keep a good bookstore down. Welcome home….

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