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New England Mobile Book Fair gets temporary home

Tom Lyons, president and CEO of New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton, is moving the book fair to the nearby Marshalls Plaza.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff/file 2013

Tom Lyons, president and CEO of New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton, is moving the book fair to the nearby Marshalls Plaza.

Fans of the New England Mobile Book Fair will happy to learn that they won’t have to travel too far to visit the beloved independent bookstore in its new space.

Owner Tom Lyons, who’d warned customers a few months ago he needed to downsize or close, has found a new space not far from the 32,000-square-foot warehouse space on Needham Street in Newton Highlands that has been home for 50 years.

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Lyons says the New England Mobile Book Fair is moving just a few blocks away — to the Marshalls Plaza on Needham Street. He’s hoping to be open in the new space, which will be less than a quarter of the size of the old space, by mid-June.

“We had been contacted by a number of cities and locations nearby, but ultimately we felt that we wanted to try to stay local, so when the Northland Investment Corp. contacted us it felt like the right fit,” Lyons said, referring to the Newton-based real estate development firm. “Even though it’s not a permanent solution, it helps keep this bookstore close to its roots. Northland clearly understands the need for unique local businesses that support the community.”

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The new space is indeed temporary. It’s only available for about two years because the parcel is part of a 30-acre property that’s being eyed by the city of Newton for a development that would include housing, retail, and office space.

Said Peter Standish, a Northland vice president: “We are pleased to be able to facilitate New England Mobile Fook Fair’s ongoing service and commitment to the people of Newton. This use fits squarely with the vision for our proposed mixed-use development, and we hope to find the Bookstore a permanent home here.”

Like a lot of other independent bookstores, the New England Mobile Book Fair has struggled in recent years as online retailers have captured much of the market.

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