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Bookstores of New York
The prognosis for the future is mixed in Uptown Manhattan. Among the last of the independents on the Upper West Side is Book Culture, at 536 West 112th, around the corner from the gates of Columbia University and down the block from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The store has long leaned to the scholarly, but the academic book business is in a slump, given the dwindling number of students applying to and pursuing Ph.D.s in the humanities. In business since 1997, owner Chris Doeblin decided to diversify. In 2009 he opened a new store, Book Culture on Broadway, that also carries “non-book,” i.e. scarves, toys, and knickknacks, along with more popular titles. But sales in the main store are declining. Doeblin ascribes the sorry state of affairs at least in part to an industry at odds with itself...