Shelves of books, cards, calendars and more can be seen in this photograph of the original Morgenstern Booksellers that opened in November 1990 in Eastland Plaza and closed its doors in April 1996. (Courtesy photo)
Shelves of books, cards, calendars and more can be seen in this photograph of the original Morgenstern Booksellers that opened in November 1990 in Eastland Plaza and closed its doors in April 1996. (Courtesy photo)

The responses to a letter to the editor in The Herald-Times began the process of Rick Morgenstern reopening a Bloomington bookstore, which is expected to debut in May in the former Pier 1 location on the east side.

In December 2018, Morgenstern’s letter was published, explaining that he’d read that Barnes and Noble, one of two national bookstores that came to Bloomington and helped put him out of business in 1996, was closing its doors. In it he said: “I used to own a bookstore in Bloomington — Morgenstern Booksellers. We closed the doors for the last time in April of 1996. I’m considering opening a new version of my store. If I do it, it will not only be a cool new indie bookstore, it will also offer other amenities such as food and drink, live performance and arts and crafts goods. This store will be a sweet and warm family gathering space just like our former bookstore.”

Morgenstern asked people who had been customers to reach out to let him know if they would shop at a new bookstore. The response was overwhelming and positive, with hundreds of emails, calls and people stopping him on the street to talk about their memories of his bookstore, according to Mitch Teplitsky, a friend who is helping with public relations.

“He got more determined to reopen after that letter to the editor,” Teplitsky said.

In fact, an article in The Herald-Times published on Dec. 27, 2018, quoted Morgenstern as saying his was planning to reopen the local bookstore. He talked about how his store had lost 70% of its business after Borders and Barnes and Noble opened up stores in Bloomington. With their closure, he was hopeful, saying, “It looks to me like there’s going to be a pretty significant need again.”

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