PARIS – When Books N Things, located at 430 Main St., reopened on March 3 after a month of renovations and updates, it was with a new owner and a new name.

Adrienne Cote of Paris said that she reopened the bookstore as The Tribune after buying Books N Things from long-time owner Erica Jed, who moved the bookstore from the Oxford Plaza to Main Street in Norway 12 years ago.

Cote said she plans to make sure the bookstore continues to offer everything that Jed offered, and to make the bookstore a place that people can meet and discuss books.

“I believe independent bookstores of the United States are in a battle against Amazon,” Cote said. “There are great reasons for Amazon to exist, but bookstores give you an opportunity to look at a book before buying it and to talk to people. That’s more important to me, and it’s important to a lot of people too.”

Name: Adrienne Cote

Hometown: Paris

What was the driving force behind you buying the bookstore? I’ve lived in this area for about 20 years and have been a customer of Books N Things for probably the past eight or nine years. I was aware of the fact that Erica had been attempting to sell the building for a couple of years. In fact, I looked at the building myself a year-and-a-half ago, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to buy the building. From a real estate standpoint, it wasn’t the right route for me.

I stayed in touch with Erica whenever I went to the store, and one day in September, I came into the store and she told me that she had sold the building. I took a long walk that day and wondered what she’d do with the business. She and I started talking on that day, and a couple of weeks later, I agreed to buy.

Before buying Books N Things, what did you do for work? I’ve had two really fortunate careers in my life so far. I spent 35 years as a merchandising executive in the apparel industry, working with catalogue companies in direct marketing of women’s apparel and men’s gifts.

I’ve also periodically made a living as an actor. I’ve done a lot of theater and on-stage, on-camera work. I’ve also done some voice-over work. It’s not something I do all the time, but it’s something I really enjoy. I started as a young girl. When I was little, at the local Catholic high school, the school asked, “Do we have any kids that we can use in a play?” It was “The Music Man,” and they wanted the kids to use as townspeople. My mother loaded up the car and dropped us off to be in the play.

I worked a little bit as an actor out of college, but I didn’t have the ego for the business. The rejection is wicked. I put it aside. And when I got into my 40s, I started getting more auditions and better jobs. I got into the union and did an off-Broadway run. I had grown into my looks and skills. It’s something I still like doing.

You changed the name of Books N Things to The Tribune. Where did you come up with the name? The word “tribune” itself is closely related to publishing. A lot of newspapers would use it in their names. The word actually means a person or organization that defends the rights of others, and for me, I feel that I’m defending my right to be an independent bookseller and fight the good fight. I also think that books are a refuge for people sometimes, and I want to make sure that the bookstore feels like a refuge for people.

Do you feel that your work in the merchandising industry will help you as the owner of a bookstore? I think the overlap is there. The book industry is unique and peculiar. I had the good fortune of working with Erica through the holiday season, and she was very graceful and open to me asking a zillion questions.

I also attended a big book conference run by the American Booksellers Association in January, where I met other people opening or starting bookstores. I went there for four days, and I learned a lot and made a lot of connections. I’m sure that I’ll screw some things up as I get started, but I’m not afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes make you stronger. I think of the store as a book business, so I want to make sure I understand the industry.

Are you planning on making any changes to the bookstore, or will you keep it the same? I’ve gotten a lot of really great feedback from people about the bookstore. People really loved Erica. They supported her and were excited that she was able to sell the business, because that’s what she wanted. What I’ve learned is that people want to have a bookstore in their town, and the most important thing for me is that this will still be a bookstore, and will still be the same store that Erica started. People will still be able to spend their gift cards and buy newspapers here. They can feel confident that their local, independent bookstore will carry on.

One thing I may change is using the space in the building a little bit different. The space in the basement used to be filled with used books. I ended up donating all of the used books downstairs, and now, I’d like to use that space for something else. I’m not sure what yet. I think it would be a really cool basement space. I’d like to try some things with it.

I also think that a bookstore can be about more than reading books. It can be a meeting place. I think it’s important to get people off of their screens. I’m hoping to start book groups for young readers between the ages of 13 and 15. They could come once a month and talk about a certain book.

[email protected]

Adrienne Cote


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