|Zibby Bookshop's future home.
Early next year, writer, podcast host and publisher Zibby Owens will open a bookstore called Zibby's Bookshop in Santa Monica, Calif.
The 823-square-foot store will reside at 1113 Montana Ave. and sell new books for children, teens and adults, with a strong focus on contemporary fiction and memoirs. Rather than shelve books in conventional categories by genre, Owens said, the store will curate titles by topic and interest. At the same time, Zibby's Bookshop will feature plenty of books recommended by other people, particularly authors; Owens said she looks forward to showcasing writers "and the books that they love."
In addition to Owens, the bookstore's founding team includes Diana Tramontano and Sherri Puzey. The trio has been working together for about two years and all three will handle buying for the bookstore.
Asked about plans for sidelines and nonbook items, Owens said there will be "very limited swag," with perhaps a small selection of things like candles. Otherwise, the focus will very much be on the books. The bookshop's event plans, meanwhile, include plenty of author meet-and-greets and fun things for book clubs.
The space, which previously belonged to a dry cleaner, is undergoing renovations. The floor is being replaced, the ceiling is getting bumped up and the bathroom is being redone, and Owens hopes to open the store in February or March, depending on when that work is completed.
|The Zibby team: Diana Tramontano, Zibby Owens and Sherri Puzey.
Owens said she's wanted to open a bookstore "forever and ever," and it was the success of her podcast Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books, which she launched in 2018, that inspired all sorts of "book-adjacent activities." She's started a publishing company and magazine (Zibby's Books and Zibby Mag, respectively) and about six months ago started looking into opening a bookstore in the Santa Monica area. She considered everything from opening a traditional bricks-and-mortar store to starting a bookmobile or launching a pop-up shop.
She was actually leaning toward the pop-up option when she found the space on Montana Ave. and decided to sign a lease. Owens described the area as a "10-block strip of highly walkable, shoppable stores,'' with a great community of customers and business owners. She noted that there are clothing stores, spas and nail salons in the area, and the other business owners are "so excited" to have the bookstore coming in.
Owens added that though she decided to go the bricks-and-mortar route, that doesn't mean she's ruled out ever doing pop-up appearances or starting a bookmobile. "I'm hoping that this is just the beginning," she said.
Elaborating on the community reaction, Owens recalled that she shared a "little sketch of the store" on Instagram a while back and the "outpouring of excitement" was incredible. Working on Zibby's Bookshop, she continued, has made her think a lot about the role of bookstores.
"It's made it even more clear to me that having a bookstore join the community is not simply about the transactions," she remarked. "It's about bringing people together and all the other intangibles a bookstore can provide." --Alex Mutter