Nicola's, at 10,000 square feet, is large for an independent bookstore. She calls it "a good size. Big enough to have a pretty good selection of things, but not so big that you think 'where is fiction?' It was a superstore when it was built" in 1991, she reminisces, "then they started building stores three or four times this size." The store was originally the flagship of the Little Professor chain, which was then owned by local Jon Wisotzkey. Wisotzkey died in 1992, and Rooney bought the store as a franchise in 1995; she later took it independent after a legal battle.
She said holiday sales were brisk, as usual, "though Christmas season is usually a lot of people you don't see at other times of year." Best sellers were Donna Tartt's art-world novel The Goldfinch and The Art of Rube Goldberg, a sixty-dollar coffee-table book.
Nicola's Books, 2513 Jackson (Westgate), 662-0600. Spring hours (starting mid-March) Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. nicolasbooks.com
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