Sunday, January 18, 2009

Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops to Close on March 31st

The announcement has been made. After 82 years in the Milwaukee area, the Harry W. Schwartz bookshops are closing on March 31st. Here's a piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel with much of the story.

That said, there is good news to be told. Lanora Hurley, manager of our Mequon shop, will be opening a new bookstore, Next Chapter Bookshop, in the same location as her current shop.

And I will be opening Boswell Book Company, most likely in the Downer Avenue location, soon after Schwartz closes. Yes, though the Schwartz name will be retired, I have been given permission to take over our signature icon of James Boswell, the remarkable man who penned The Life of Samuel Johnson, considered by many to be the first modern biography.

And yes, this classic is just recently available in a new edition from Penguin. And yes, I am going to finally read it. And yes, I start too many sentences with a conjunction.
The stores will continue to operate with a few policy changes for the meantime. We wanted to give our booksellers and our customers enough lead time to adjust to the news.

So the blog continues. There are still books and book trends to be discussed. But most of all, I will be writing about my new enterprise. Returning to Boswell's Wikipedia entry, the writer noted that Boswell has become part of the English language to mean "constant companion and observer." I hope both my blog and future bookstore fit the bill.

I am filled with a grab-bag of emotions--sad, nervous, grieving, excited, frightened, hopeful. Perhaps the hopeful will be a little stronger when my loan is finalized.
More to come.


Dean B said...

So sad to hear the Schwartz stores are closing, but if there is anything I can do to help you in your new venture, please holler.

Anonymous said...

Hey Daniel, sad, but so proud of all you've done for Schwartz and all Schwartz has done for readers and the bookselling community. You are brave and strong and true! The Boswell Book Company will rock!

Your pals at the TC

nancy said...

I feel like I'm losing a friend by losing Schwartz Bookshops. However, it softens the blow to know that we will not be without an independent bookstore on the East side. Thank you SO MUCH for that!

Unknown said...

Good luck to you and your staff in your new venture! Long live Boswell Book Company and Next Chapter Bookshop!

Carrie said...

I couldn't believe it when my parents told me the news! I was very happy to see that you are taking over the Downer store as a new venture, if anyone can make it work I know you can. I hope all is well with you in this crazy, stressful, tumultuous time.

Carrie S., (still off in portland)

Tom B said...


Though I haven't lived in the midwest for so long now, this news is such a heartbreaker. I'll focus on the positive, though. Cathy's right. There's so much to be proud of...and, now, much to look forward to. Boswell Book Company will be amazing. And we really have to schedule a trip to Milwaukee...or at least Chicago.

Unknown said...


The wind was knocked out of me when I heard the news, but I'm glad to know that you'll still be there for the book lovers of Milwaukee. You'll have a lifelong customer in me.

Good luck.

cityrachel said...

Ok, Daniel - i'll start reading your blog, and based on the bit I've already read, I will grow smarter with each time I tune in. I also must confess...I feel guilty. For the holidays, i was given a ...gasp ...Sony reader! I am so ambivalent. I love actual books! Still, this is convenient, smallish and less expensive...but, I feel like good book store denizens will throw ink at me, much the way PETA folks throw paint on furs... appease my guilt??? how can a tech no-reader/ bookstore lover live within the same body?

Unknown said...

Dan, you're the man.
Congrats on your new adventure! How exciting!


---- said...

I was shopping at the Outpost Natural Foods Capitol Drive location, recently, and overheard a woman mentioning to someone else as they were both at a checkout lane that she was about to attend the FINAL book club event at Schwartz. I knew my ears were not deceiving me (I am a musician with keen hearing), but I did not want to believe what I had heard. (Yeah, under what rock have I been hiding? ... I don't read newspapers regularly, so I missed any announcements, which means that I am not only one of the many unwashed who have apparently not done our parts religiously enough to support you, but I am slightly clueless at least half the time about important events. I'd apologize, but it won't change anything.) I did want to tell you that I will always have very fond memories of the Oakland store. Stopped in there today to use my member coupon, which I sort of felt bad about, but I also know that you don't want my charity, you want my business. So I'll now be checking out your new/old location on Downer. And, hopefully, I'll get my butt over there more frequently. Thank you for continuing the tradition as an independent bookseller!