World Book Nite means paperback peddler’s return to Riverdale Ave.


Four years after bookstore Paperbacks Plus closed its doors, Fern Jaffe will again promote reading on Riverdale Avenue.

On Monday, April 23, Ms. Jaffe will stand where her store once stood, now Corner Café at 3718 Riverdale Ave., to hand out free books as part of the international literary awareness event World Book Night. 

Riverdale Avenue has changed a lot since 2008, when Ms. Jaffe closed Paperbacks Plus after 38 years of selling books in Riverdale. But her love of books has never ceased.

World Book Night, which originated in the United Kingdom last year, is one of many book appreciation events that take place all over the world each year on April 23.  

Ms. Jaffe described the event as “designed to spread the love of reading and the love of the book.”

Book appreciation events are held on April 23 because on that date in 1616, Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, and William Shakespeare, died (it was not  the same day because Spain and England were not using the same calendar).

As soon as she decided to volunteer for the event, Ms. Jaffe knew what she would do.

“To me it was very important to stand on the street in front of my old bookstore. I’m a big supporter and booster of Riverdale Avenue I thought it would be a lot of fun and make a statement,” she said, referring to her point that physical books are still important.

Ms. Jaffe, dubbed a “book giver” by the volunteer-led World Book Night initiative, will hand out copies of Michael Connelly’s Blood Work.

“I’m trying to give the book to people who wouldn’t ordinarily buy books or read books,” she said.

The day will also be a trip down memory lane.

“Another goal of mine is to remind people that we had the only full-service independent community bookstore in the borough,” she said, adding that  she misses referring books to people and physically handing books to her customers.

For more information on World Book Night, go to

“I’m hoping that people will come out and remember the bookstore and the book that we promoted for 38 years in this community,” Ms. Jaffe said.