Long Island’s new indie bookstore is quickly becoming a staple in Babylon


There’s a new chapter for The Neverending Story, a recently opened Babylon bookstore.

The indie shop — whose name draws inspiration from the fantastical film and novel of the same title — opened in January, fulfilling a longtime dream for owner and bibliophile Colleen Kinneary.

“I had been looking at opening a shop for a couple of years and at one point, I was in the process of purchasing a store across from Vassar College,” Kinneary said. “The owner got cold feet, so I decided, ‘Why not do this on my own?’”

Kinneary, 40, has spent most of her career around the printed word, operating stores at museums on Long Island and in Hudson Valley and also working as a book buyer.

So when Kinneary spotted a “For Rent” sign last August at a storefront along Babylon’s West Main Street, the East Northport resident said she felt an instant pull to the property.

“I walked in and was like, ‘This is perfect,’” said Kinneary, who at the time was working as general manager of the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor. “And I figured if it doesn’t work, that’s the universe telling me that maybe owning a bookstore wasn’t going to happen.”

The store at 9 W. Main Street, which has about 1,000 square feet of retail space, also plays host to live music, holds meet-and-greet gatherings with authors and highlights the work of local artists.

“It’s got to be a lot of different things — it can’t just be books,” Kinneary said. “To be really successful, it can only be about 60% books.”

A key component to a good independent bookstore, Kinneary said, is being very familiar with what patrons want. 

“I know all the books that I sell — I review them, I put them on the shelves, I know where they are,” she said. “So when somebody comes in and says they’re looking for a book about X, Y and Z, I know what they’re looking for and what their tastes are.

“I can basically cater an experience for them.”

Kinneary conceded that opening a new shop is a “crapshoot” that takes “a lot of nerve,” but said she is optimistic that The Neverending Story can be a never-ending business, citing the growth of independent bookstores in recent years, with membership in the American Booksellers Association at its highest level in more than two decades.

“I’ve done my research,” she said. “In 2022, 200 independent bookstores opened in the US, so that is a nice sign that folks are reading again.”

A few months into her new chapter, Kinneary said the reception from customers and the village of Babylon has been “great,” adding that she is relishing the opportunity to be “the captain of my own ship.”

“The shop has been way more popular than I ever could have imagined, which is really cool,” she said. “Am I going to make a million bucks? Probably not.”


Top: Inside Babylon’s new indie bookstore The Neverending Story. (Courtesy)

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