Mitchell Kaplan is enjoying his life's journey one page at a time
As major corporate book-selling chains redefined a once-alternative industry, luring in the masses with discounts and coffee, independent bookstores folded nationwide. The American Booksellers Association's 6,000-person membership of 25 years ago has dwindled to about 1,600. Still, Greater Miami's own Books & Books is still standing — and thriving. The store celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. It hosts now more than 60 events a month, presenting high-profile speakers such as Bill Clinton and Barbara Walters. A store recently opened in the Cayman Islands, one is planned for Miami International Airport, and owner Mitchell Kaplan is eyeing Brickell as another potential locale. Mr. Kaplan — never a bookworm or businessman, always a lover of books, he says — strives to spread a love of literary culture and considers bookstores community centers. He co-founded the Miami Book Fair International, also approaching its 25th year. Mr. Kaplan talked books with Miami Today staff writer Risa Polansky at his flagship Coral Gables store.
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