Readers of Montclair, do you realize how lucky you are to live in a town that has not one, but two independent booksellers? And venerable ones at that? Two years ago, Montclair Book Center on Glenridge Ave. celebrated its 25th birthday, and this Saturday, Watchung Booksellers at 54 Fairfield St. in Montclair, turns 20. There are activities all day, starting with music for the kids at 10 a.m. and winding up with a champagne toast at 5 p.m.
The challenges of running an indie bookstore these days are formidable — ranging from competition of Amazon and the Kindle to the reported decline in book reading. But owner Margot Sage-EL counts herself lucky to be in a town of devoted readers — and an outsized number of authors too. As one of many scribes, I can tell you that Sage-EL is the author’s best friend. “If you can’t get some hoopla in your hometown,” she told me recently, “where you gonna get it?”
I sat down to interview her on Watchung Booksellers, her business and the future of books.