Macy’s is opening a small bookstore section in its Downtown Crossing location. This sends an encouraging message about the viability of books as well as of the long-troubled retail district.
To fill the void left by Borders, which closed last year, Macy’s is incorporating a Barbara’s Bookstore section in its lower level. The Chicago bookstore chain, which already operates in South Station, will open in other Macy’s locations, too. But having one in Downtown Crossing is especially sweet to those who still mourn the loss of book-browsing options.
It should also help assuage worries about a pivotal area in the heart of Boston. The new book section at Macy’s comes on top of the department store’s decision to extend its hours in Downtown Crossing. That is a positive sign, as it means more people are out and about and looking for places to shop. “It’s definitely an indicator of the area on the upswing with growing numbers of residents,” said Rosemarie Sansone, president of the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District.
Boston’s image of itself as a hub of literature has suffered as book retailers have closed; the Barnes and Noble at the Prudential Center is the last mass-market bookstore. The establishment of new outpost, even a small one within a larger store, shows that books may yet provide a growth opportunity in an evolving Downtown Crossing.