Wimpy Kid Author Jeff Kinney to Open Bookstore

Posted on March 22, 2015

The Unlikely Story bookstore building

Jeff Kinney has sold millions of books in his Wimpy Kids series, which is also a popular feature film series. Now he's taking on a new challenge: he's opening a bookstore in his hometown of Plainville, Massachusetts. Opening an independent bookstore in today's economy takes grit, determination and a lot of cash. Luckily, Kinney has all three.

Kinney was a game developer and cartoonist who wrote in his spare time. He wrote a book about the adventures of a kid navigating every day life. The protagonist, middle-schooler Greg Heffley, has an original voice and a unique point of view. The book is illustrated with Kinney's cartoons. He originally wrote the book for adults, and didn't show it to a publisher for eight years. But finally Diary of a Wimpy Kid was published by Harry N. Abrams in April, 2007. It became a #1 New York Times bestseller. There are now nine books in the series. To date the Wimpy Kids books have sold more than 150 million copies around the world.

The Boston Globe talked with the bestselling novelist about his new venture. The first myth that Kinney wanted to dispel is that this is some kind of vanity project that will only feature his own books. He says it wont be a Wimpy world or anything like that. In fact, the entire reason he is opening a bookstore is because he is so angry that so many bookstores have closed. Kinney loves bookstores and wants his kids to experience them.

Kinney said, "The reason that we wanted to create a bookstore in our town of Plainville is because, quite frankly, I feel angry that so many bookstores have gone away. Bookstores have always been such a big part of my life and my wife's life, and we wanted to do something about it. We wanted to provide our kids and our community with a place where they could be exposed to new ideas, cultural events, and other people who love to read."

Plainville is a small town of 8,000 people which is located 35 miles away from Boston, but Kinney is confident that the store, which will be called An Unlikely Story, will draw visitors from other towns. He says the closest store that sells new books is 17 minutes away, but most people have to drive much further to find a bookstore. He says the store is not about him, but he will make some appearance, and maybe teach a cartooning class. He will also work as a sales clerk or maybe in the cafe. His sons, who are 9 and 12, will also work there in the summer.

We think the bookstore sounds like a fabulous idea which could become a destination stop for book lovers visiting Boston.

Photo: Bergmeyer Associates, Inc.

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