Despair no more, Squirrel Hillers. You’re getting a new bookstore — well, a new used book store.
Eric Ackland, who owns Amazing Books at 929 Liberty Avenue in Downtown, will open a second location at 2030 Murray Avenue, between Chaya Japanese restaurant and Pinkser’s Judaica, in June. It will be the first bookstore in Squirrel Hill since Barnes & Noble suddenly and unexpectedly closed its Murray Avenue location in 2009.
Ackland, a Philadelphia native who’s been in Pittsburgh for two years, says he couldn’t be more excited to bring an independent bookstore back to a neighborhood which used to be filled with them.
“I moved to Squirrel Hill just over two years ago and it was stunning to me that there was no bookstore there,” he says. “Finding a second location was an important objective for us and Squirrel Hill was our first choice.”
Amazing Books started in Garfield as Awesome Books, then opened its Downtown location as part of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Project Pop Up. Ackland bought it from the original owners last March.
Amazing Books’ new location will take up about 1,200 square-feet in the space which used to house the Paper Shoppe. Additionally, the location has usable basement space for which the bookseller has special plans.
“We’re planning to offer writing classes down there. We’re going to have classes on novel writing, screenplay writing, short story writing, creative nonfiction — that kind of thing.”
Ackland also says that the new store will offer a selection of high-end magazines focusing on art, music, literature and culture, a small supply of comic books, greeting cards from local artist Kathryn Carr and even a little vinyl.
“Obviously, we can’t compete with Jerry’s, but we’ll have a nice little selection of new and used records,” Ackland says. “We’ll also have a larger selection of new books there, and we’ll continue to showcase our local authors.”
One thing he’s still trying to nail down?
“We’re looking for ways to do inventory,” he says, chuckling at his back-room stash of multiple thousands of unsorted volumes.