With an investment upward of $100,000, The Bookmark is partnering with book publishing company Penguin Random House to launch its second bookstore at the Plaza Carolina shopping center in the municipality of Carolina.
The Bookmark Boutique, which officially opens today, is the first new location for The Bookmark since its original location opened its doors in San Patricio Plaza in 2013.
“For us, this is an excellent initiative to continue our growth. In addition, we will increase the supply of books in the Puerto Rican market, which still has a healthy demand for a community of readers since the closing of the Borders stores,” said Juan Peña, vice president of sales and marketing, JR Blue Label Management, parent company of The Bookmark.
JR Blue is planning on maintaining the Bookmark Boutique open beyond the initial three-month launch period.
Designed as a concept store, The Bookmark Boutique has 1,000 square feet of retail space and is expected to create 20 new jobs. During its first three months of operation, Penguin Random House will provide support with public relations, an aggressive author event calendar and innovative technology designed to help readers discover new books and authors.
“This is the first time we are working so robustly on a store like this, in a mall setting or any other setting at retail,” said Penguin Random House Senior Vice President, Director of International Sales and Marketing Cyrus Kheradi. “This is really a first for us.”
Kheradi singled out the partnership with JR Blue as a main driver of the project. “Having a great relationship with JR Blue and the success they have had with The Bookmark gives us a lot of confidence,” he said.
Kheradi sees a lot of opportunity in the local marketplace. He praised Puerto Rico’s reading culture, rich literature and multitude of local writers, some of whom Penguin publishes. The executive mentioned that being part of the United States makes the market attractive, particularly as they can avoid competing with big box retailers like Barnes and Noble.
More than 1,000 titles
The Bookmark Boutique will have a unique selection of more than 1,000 Penguin Random House titles in both Spanish and English, featuring Hispanic writers such as Rosario Ferré, Gabriel García-Márquez and Isabel Allende; along with bestselling English-language authors. There will be a children’s book section, offering a special selection of young adult books as well as Graphic Novels and comics.
In addition, adults and children will be able to express their creativity in the Coloring Book Section. As part of the store’s opening celebration, there will be free shipping for customers ordering a book not available in the store through Mother’s Day on May 8.
The bookstore will host events featuring several bestselling Penguin Random House authors over the next three months, including high-profile writers Claudia Gray and Lauren Kate, as well as story time appearances by beloved children’s characters such as Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. A calendar of special events will be posted in the store and online.
With the concept of “Your next adventure” as its guiding principle, The Bookmark Boutique will take shoppers on an adventure through reading, inspiring them to expand their knowledge and travel through time with literature. The bookstore will debut new technologies in the retail-bookseller space, such as an interactive touch-screen Browse Bar, which will allow consumers to explore suggestions based on their reading interests. A digital catalog will help the reader select from a broad spectrum of books available in-store, as well as from tens of thousands of titles in Penguin Random House’s catalog.
Consumers will be able to take a picture at the “Book Cover Selfie Station” and incorporate it into a book cover of their choice, which they can later share through social media. Video monitors will present interviews with various authors, as well as previews of upcoming books and films based on numerous bestsellers published by Penguin Random House imprints.