Sunday, November 27, 2011

Change of guard at New England Mobile Book Fair

Jumbo Editorial Team

Tom Lyons has become new owner of Newton-based New England Mobile Book Fair, the region’s largest independent bookseller, having taken over recently.

"Pretty much everybody I talk to loves books and reads books and wants their children to feel and put their hands on a book,’’ Lyons observed after buying out the iconic 54-year-old bookstore from the Strymish family, who had put it up for sale a year ago. The deal was brokered by Ridge Hill Partners Inc. of Needham, but the terms of sale were not released.

“Tom impressed each of us with his commitment and passion for the Book Fair, as well as his respect for my family’s legacy. We wish him success as he guides the Book Fair into the future,” Jon Strymish, whose family founded the business, remarked in his statement, confirming the sale.

The 66-year-old Lyons is very much well versed with the importance of moving the business forward, while preserving what its loyal clientele love about the place. Hailing from Brookline, he spent his career in the insurance industry and more recently as an independent management consultant. He’s also written a Western, which he’s hoping to publish, and is working on a couple of mysteries.

"We’ve got to do this carefully. Essentially what I want to do is keep the charm,” he stated.

He’s kicking off the important holiday shopping season by stocking up on bestsellers and children’s books, adding some specialty items, and beefing up the store’s renowned remainder section.

Next year, other changes will slowly unfold. Lyons desires to sponsor author events at the store, create a more family-friendly children’s section, and invite the area’s professors and professionals to give advice on what specialty books to sell. He also plans to computerize the inventory.

"I've got to. I have a difficult time browsing for a mystery to go by publisher by publisher by publisher. Some people come for a book and some people come to relax,” Lyons emphasized, adding that it’s no easy task to reorganize over a million books, so "it’s going to take time.’’

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