New Barnes & Noble brightens up Westport


Photo by Lilly Weisz ’23

Though the old Barnes & Noble carried many memories, the new one is vibrant and invites Westporters to make new ones downtown. This young reader certainly is!

Never before have I seen so many people, from toddlers to old-timers, flocking to a bookstore. On Feb. 24, when the new downtown Barnes & Noble opened its doors, there we all were, ready to explore what was once the town’s Restoration Hardware.

Inside, I was delighted by the smell of paper and fresh planks of wood. The old Barnes & Noble was dim and cramped with ugly shelves despite its spacious interior. Even with its smaller floorspace, the new location is airy and light, a rainbow of book covers adorning every wall. 

As a bibliophile, I am overjoyed with our new Barnes & Noble and believe it will become just as beloved, if not more so, than the old. The new store gets a thumbs up.

The front desk sits conveniently behind the entrance and the entire store is staffed with friendly booksellers enthusiastically waiting to help you find the perfect book. To navigate the store, you take a journey through different halls overflowing with books, each wing containing one or two genres. As I explored, I found myself happily lost in a labyrinth of literature. 

As I explored, I found myself happily lost in a labyrinth of literature.

— Lilly Weisz ’23

The only downside is the loss of the Starbucks café in the more condensed space. A gathering place for coffee lovers and students alike, Westporters will miss having cappuccinos while they catch up with one another or work on their computers. However, with multiple coffee shops just a few crosswalks away, Barnes & Noble visitors can still maintain a similar routine.

The entrance to the new store is spacious and welcoming. Off to the left is the front desk. The sections for different book genres branch off from the sides. (Photo by Lilly Weisz ’23)

Of course, I’m nostalgic for my childhood memories of reading picture books for hours in the back of the old Barnes & Noble store. However, judging from the kids I saw doing just the same, Westport’s new location is sure to foster a fierce love of reading in the next generation, just as the previous did for me.

In a time where bookstores seem to be going extinct with the rise of Amazon Prime delivery, the crowds of people surging into the beautifully book-filled store give me hope. The newfound accessibility of a downtown location combined with the welcoming atmosphere ensure that Barnes & Noble will remain a fixture for many years to come.