16 July, 2007, Miami, Florida -- Books & Books will be bringing its brand of independent bookselling to the Cayman Islands this fall with the opening of its fourth location in Camana Bay’s Town Centre, located in Grand Cayman. Due to open in November 2007, BOOKS & BOOKS, GRAND CAYMAN will become the exclusive bookseller in the heart of the new Town Centre, a community development that spans 500 acres between Seven Mile Beach and North Sound and is by far the largest project ever undertaken in the Cayman Islands.
Founded in 1982 by Mitchell Kaplan, Books & Books is a South Florida institution, independently-owned with three locations in Coral Gables, Miami Beach and Bal Harbour Shops. Books & Books has woven itself into the fabric of its community, its stores serving as neighbourhood cultural centres, emphasizing a close connection to the lives and needs of their customers.
In the Cayman Islands, Books & Books hopes to re-create this same sense of community, eventually becoming a dynamic and active presenter of author readings, book signings and book club discussions. “Our goal is very much in keeping with Camana Bay’s vision of creating a diverse community where people can live, work, study, dine and be entertained, all in close proximity,” explains Mitchell Kaplan, a co-founder of Miami Book Fair International and past president of the American Booksellers Association (ABA). Kaplan hopes the store will become a popular gathering place for the island’s readers and writers, a place where “people can browse the shelves, take in an author event, attend a book club discussion” and grab a bite to eat at Café del Sol, the internet coffee shop that adjoins the store.
Camana Bay (whose name dates back nearly 300 years and originates from one of the earliest spellings of the Cayman Islands) has an unrivalled location on Grand Cayman. The lead phase of the project is the Town Centre, the site of the new Books & Books store. With one million square feet of built space planned, the Town Centre will offer diverse retail and entertainment venues, a state-of-the-art cinema, residential apartments, garden and commercial offices.
Inspired by traditional Caribbean architecture, the new Books & Books 5,000 square foot bookstore responds to the natural and cultural environment of Cayman and reflects a fresh and contemporary interpretation of the very best of traditional and modern Caribbean architectural styles. The light and spacious interior will feature a wide array of titles, including fine fiction, art and architecture books, poetry and classics, bestsellers, cookbooks, travel guides and books for children and young adults. A colourful children’s section and storytelling sessions, will help bring books alive for young readers and the knowledgeable staff will be happy to make insightful suggestions.
“Books & Books has an outstanding reputation for innovation and individuality, and will be a great addition to Camana Bay,” says Jackie Doak, Executive Vice President of Dart Realty, the developers of Camana Bay. “I have been visiting Books & Books in Miami for many years, and have always thought it would be a great fit for the Town Centre. We are particularly excited to be included on their literary event circuit, which we hope will bring authors from all around the world to Cayman.”
“I can’t imagine it will be too difficult to persuade visiting authors to schedule a stop at our new store in the Cayman Islands,” says Kaplan. “Eventually, I hope we will be able to organize mini book festivals, conferences and all kinds of cultural events. It’s just a one-hour flight from Miami.”
Surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands are located 480 miles south of Miami, and are equally renowned for their white sandy beaches and world-class diving as for being the fifth largest financial centre in the world. The diverse, international community enjoys a sophisticated lifestyle in a beautiful island setting, where 1.8 million cruise visitors pass through annually.
Residents and visitors will be able to get their first taste of the Books & Books experience during the Town Centre’s opening weekend of festivities, planned for 2 to 4 November 2007. Books & Books (Cayman) Ltd. will officially open its doors to the public that weekend, just a few weeks after it celebrates the Silver Anniversary of its flagship store, in Coral Gables, with 25th Anniversary events planned October 15 – 20, 2007.
Over the last twenty-five years, Books & Books has hosted countless authors, encompassing a broad spectrum that includes literary giants, debut novelists, locally-based writers, former heads of state, television and film actors, children’s authors, and culinary celebrities. Readings and book signings are held nightly at their three locations, or offsite at temples, churches, university campuses and alternative venues in the community.
“What attracted us to Camana Bay is the sense of community which informs the vision for the project,” says Kaplan. “The notion of creating a great, good place is at the heart of all we do. Through exemplary service, selection and ambience our aim is to serve our community, while at the same time reflecting its very nature and character. I’m confident that we can bring these qualities to the people living on and visiting Grand Cayman.”
About Books & Books
Mitchell Kaplan, a Miami Beach native, founded Books & Books in 1982. Located in Coral Gables, Florida, Books & Books expanded to its present location in December of 2000. Housed in a Mediterranean-style building, the bookstore hosts an average of fifty events a month, consisting of author appearances, readings, demonstrations, lectures, children's activities, and a variety of other community-based programs. All of this is achieved in an old world setting of floor-to-ceiling wood bookshelves, wood floors, and a courtyard cafe. In 1989, Books & Books opened a second location on Lincoln Road, which continues to serve the Miami Beach community today, and includes a full-service restaurant, the Café at Books & Books. In April 2005, Books & Books opened a new location at Bal Harbour Shops mall. Books & Books forms part of the Book Sense network, an alliance of independent booksellers throughout the U.S., who work together to promote books, reading, literacy, and freedom of expression.
About Camana Bay
Camana Bay is a mixed use master-planned community spanning 500 acres between Seven Mile Beach and the North Sound. Due to open in 2007/8, the Town Centre offers 71,244 square feet of dedicated retail space and will provide shoppers with a mix of international brands and local retailers, restaurants, a multiplex cinema, commercial and garden offices and loft apartments. Camana Bay will be developed in phases over the next two decades allowing it to flourish for generations to come.
About Café del Sol
Café del Sol established its first location at The Marquee Plaza in 2002 and has been serving tourists and residents alike ever since. Earlier this year, Café del Sol opened a new branch in the cntre of George town at Aqua Mall, on the waterfront between Harley Davidson and the Blue Iguana.
Here are a few photos and posts from events @ Books & Books: