Typewriters, Used Books and Posters: The Barner Book Experience

By Matt Ferremi

This article was based on a story written by Amanda Copkov and published in The New Paltz Oracle

Upon walking into the little bookstore called Barner Books located on Church Street right by Main Street Bistro, you realize there is a certain charm to this bookstore that also sells noteworthy items such as typewriters and leather journals.

Entering Barner Books, I am greeted by store manager Abby Chance at the front register with smooth jazz playing in the background. The store owner David Friedman walks in a few minutes after anxious to answer whatever questions I plan to ask.

“I’ll answer whatever you’ll throw at me,” he says with a laugh.

While Barner Books has been around for 30 years, it has only been at its current Church Street location for about a decade. Friedman got involved with the store about nine years ago.

“Jim Barner and I became partners and we merged our two businesses. Jim had the store and I had an online business,” Friedman said.

Over the course of it’s 30 years in existence, Barner Books not only has had customers residing in New Paltz, but they’ve had visitors from all over New York State. Friedman believes that the store’s geographic location adds to it’s charm.

“I see New Paltz as a cross-roads town where people are coming through on their way to the mountain house or somewhere else in the Catskills,” Friedman said. “Customers wander in here and find the beauty and charm of a quaint village that looks much like people imagine how it looked 50 years ago.”

Walking up and down the aisles filled with books, you realize the wide variety of novels they have, along with the fact that they are all used books. Friedman believes this is another thing that adds to the charm of Barner Books.

“Used bookstores like ours become a treasure hunt, people happen to be looking to see what catches their eye,” Friedman said.

This store has a lot of the charm of what a used bookstore should like. But at the same time we keep it organized and make sure it’s a pleasant experience for the visitor – David Friedman.

In the front of the store, there are multiple typewriters on display. This all started when Friedman bought a typewriter at an antique shop about eight years ago that had “Woodstock” written on it.

“After I bought the Woodstock typewriter, I just kept buying typewriters and we’ve sold a fair number of them. It’s not what were all about, but it certainly is apart of our identity,” Friedman said.

Other items besides books that are prominent in the store include vintage posters, also located near the front of the store. Friedman mentioned how they are a decent seller with students at the beginning of the semester.

What makes Friedman the most proud to be owner of Barner Books?

“When a parent brings in their young child in here and just sit in the back with them reading to them. It feels great to know that this can be a quiet place for parents to read to their children.”

Matt Ferremi

My name is Matt Ferremi and I’m from East Islip, New York. I’m a journalism major with a minor in political science. I’m currently a contributing writer to The New Paltz Oracle. I’m hoping to get into the sports media field after I graduate.

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