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Italian American Cultural Hub “I Am Books” Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Fall Opening

I Am Books, the country’s first Italian American bookstore, is set to open its doors in Boston this fall at 189 North Street (former location of Officina 189).

Owner Nicola Orichuia and partner Jim Pinzino have launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to provide the necessary funds to get off the ground. More information about the project, as well as a short video showing you the space, is available here: iambooksboston.com.

Situated in the heart of the North End, the city’s iconic Italian neighborhood, the bookstore will serve as a cultural hub for locals and visitors interested in diving into the rich world of Italian and Italian American literature, history, research, art and more. Labeled as an “Italian American cultural hub,” I Am Books will allow visitors to connect with each other and immerse themselves in Italian and Italian American culture through book signings, small concerts and other events.

“Our goal is to offer a common space for all those who are deeply passionate about their Italian roots and heritage,” says I Am Books President Nicola Orichuia. “At the same time, we want to open a window onto Italy, a country that fascinates and attracts millions of people from all over the world every year.”

Since 2009, the number of independent bookstores in the United States has grown by 27 percent, according to the American Booksellers Association. In July, according to preliminary estimates of the U.S. Census Bureau, bookstores across the country registered a 5.9 percent increase in sales over the same month in 2014, one of the best months on record in a long time and an indication that there is a renewed interest in physical bookstores and books.

Located at 189 North Street, right across the street from the Paul Revere House and a few steps away from North Square, I Am Books will sell primarily fiction and non-fiction by Italian and Italian American authors, as well as books on food, cooking, travel and history. The store will also feature a children’s section, with learning material, games and toys as well as books.

“I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with my heritage and found it so personally rewarding,” says I Am Books Vice President Jim Pinzino, a semi-retired executive and business owner who hails from the IT sector. “I wanted to offer that same opportunity to Italian Americans as well as the general public.”

Orichuia and Pinzino are aiming to have the bookstore open as early as mid-October. The co-founders are looking to raise $36,000 in startup funds for I Am Books through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. (More information at www.iambooksboston.com)

An Italian-born journalist, Orichuia launched bostoniano.info in 2011 and Bostoniano magazine in 2013 in an effort to celebrate Italian and Italian American culture and enrich and unite the Boston-area Italian American community. I Am Books is a bricks-and-mortar expression of that same mission.

“Italy and Italian America are infinitely fascinating to Italian Americans and non-Italian Americans alike,” Orichuia says. “I Am Books will provide an outlet for that fascination while giving the Boston-area Italian American community a place where it can define and shape its cultural identity.”

4 Replies to “Italian American Cultural Hub “I Am Books” Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Fall Opening

  1. Nicola, I just finished reading your article in the Bostoniano and was so surprised – this very minute – to see that the bookstore already exists! A cultural hub / bookstore in the North End …… how good can it get ? There do exist people in this ‘day and age’ who treasure the feel of a book in hand. Magical undertaking………I love it !

    1. I’m sure you’ve read “The Italians” by Luigi Barzini. It is a colorful look at Italian life. If I find my copy, which I bought after living in Rome for two years, I’ll bring it in.

  2. Hi Jamison,
    Thank you for your support and kind words of encouragement.
    The store still doesn’t exist, although we’ve been hard at work to get it up and running soon.
    Please don’t forget to pledge to our Kickstarter campaign: http://www.iambooksboston.com. If we don’t reach our goal, we won’t get the money!
    Thank you,
    Nicola

  3. Nicola:

    I have that computer ready to give you. In addition, I have prepared a database for you to track your customers and contributions.

    In addition, I have a charming framed picture of San Donato Val di Comina, my family’s ancestral home in Lazio. As you know, San Donato is the sister city to Newton, Massachsetts and there are a lot of Sandonatesi living there now. I would love to donate the picture to your endeavor. I am downsizing and have no use for it. Someone may love it.

    Bob Volante
    617-437-9047

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