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ABOUT BOOKS AND READING > My favorite bookstore is closing!!!

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message 1: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments Pageturners Used Books in Omaha is closing!

I have shopped there regularly for almost 18 years! and know Jeff and Carlin very, very well.

They are not just booksellers to me but friends!

Backshelf Books in Omaha--also owned by freinds of mine, Harry and Jeanne--closed last year! Enough, even.

There is one more of my favorites left--Friendly Used Books in the Benson area. Sure, I can find boooks other places--but I like what I am used too.

It is sad when a bookstore goes out of business.

message 2: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Hi Mary JL. I can sympathize with you about the closing of your favorite book stores. I guess there's just too much competition from the Internet these days.

BTW, would you mind if I moved your topic into our "Books and Reading" section? I think it has a place there since it's related to books.

message 3: by Werner (new)

Werner Mary JL, I join with Joy in sympathizing! Bookstores are a crucial part of a literate culture and a healthy book trade (especially for those of us who don't like to give out credit card numbers over the Internet!). I hope these stores just closed because the owners felt like retiring, or something like that, rather than being forced out of business by Internet competition. (I think Internet Leviathans like Amazon actually don't compete so directly with the used book stores; they're in more direct competition with stores that carry new books. But maybe the Kindle giveaways of free books that are in the public domain has an effect.)

We've never had a used bookstore in the Bluefields that I know of, though there's one in Princeton. An elderly lady and her daughter who deal in used and remaindered books are regular vendors at our flea market, though, and we have one home-owned regular bookstore, Hearthside Books, that also carries some used books. (That's besides a Borders at the local mall.) I've sometimes thought I should trade at Hearthside more than I do, just to help them stay open --despite the presence of the two colleges, I don't think the Bluefields as a whole is much of a reading community. (Of course, I'd probably be more motivated to shop there if I didn't already have so many stacks of unread books I sometimes wonder if I can read them all in my lifetime.... )

message 4: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments Joy: Please feel free to move any topic any time!

message 5: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments Werner: I fear that financial considerations did apply in the closing of Pageturners. The competition from the Internet does hurt used booksellers!

One thing another booksller said to me is--people don't browse anymore. At least, most don't! They walk in and ask, "Do you have a copy of________?" and if the answer is "No", they leave. I go up and down the aisles, browsing until I find somethingthat sounds interesting.

Also, I do fear that the Kindle and other e-readers IS having an effect.

Admittedly, the bad economy did not help! I really wish someone would buy it---and keep it open as a bookstore! It is for sale--here's hoping!

message 6: by Jim (last edited Feb 12, 2011 04:26AM) (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6329 comments That's a shame, Mary JL, but it's happening all over. Baltimore & the surrounding area used to have a lot of used book stores, but they've been closing for the past 30 years, without new ones taking their place, even before the Internet really got into swing. I think it is because there have been a rising number of alternative forms of entertainment coupled with rising costs of a physical store. The Internet & ebooks are just the final nails in the coffin.

There was an article a year or two ago about the last book store in a fairly large town in Colorado closing. Might have been Colorado Springs, but I can't recall. New books, I think, but it shows the trend. People now have all the different game devices, tons of TV, DVD's & ebooks on-demand available. Also, the library system has really expanded & made it easier to get any books that most want quickly. Society is more mobile, too. It's tough to drag a dozen paper books along when other forms of entertainment fit on a small device.

The used book stores used to do paperbacks at 2 for 1 - they'd give you 25% of the cover price on trade-ins & charge 50% to buy. There is a used book store not far from where I work & while they'll take some used books, they only pay between 10-20% of the cover price, but they charge 50% of the cover price minimum up to whatever the book is worth on Amazon. So they pay less & charge more to the detriment of my wallet. They do the same with games, music CD's & DVD's, which may explain why they're still in business. t think they're just barely getting by.

I was excited to find the store when I first got here & went there a few times, but found that it's just not worth it. I have to go out of my way to get to the store & rarely find anything that I want, plus I have to keep an updated list with me. At home, I can get most books for under $4 through Amazon or a swap site with a better selection & I can double check what I have & want easier.

I spent a lot enjoyable hours pouring through those book shelves & boxes, but I also spent decades trying to finish some series without ever doing so until the Internet came along. Now I know all the books in a series & can usually find them online when I want them. It's easy to find out more about the authors & what they're writing or planning, too. The used book stores often don't/didn't know.

I do miss some really cool hard backs that I used to find, but I got rid of a lot of those when I moved, anyway. They were neat & pretty, but I mostly read paperbacks for enjoyment. General reference books have also lost out to the Internet. I can find more & newer info quicker using the Net. While I keep some around, most are only on specific subjects where we want a lot of static detail constantly on hand; our animals, trees, plants or woodworking. I quit buying any computer books at all. The information is too volatile & often isn't available in book form.

Used book stores also used to be a good meeting place for others of similar interests. Several had free or very inexpensive coffee, places where you could read & other folks that wanted to chat. That's no longer the case. While Barnes&Noble have the Starbucks, I rarely see people meeting & chatting there. Now I do it here - online.

No, it's a shame, but I think the era of used book stores has pretty much drawn to a close.

message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6329 comments Wow. Sorry about the long post, but it's something I've been mulling over for a while. It just sort of poured out...

message 8: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Don't apologize, Jim. I read your post all the way through and found it interesting. It focused my thoughts on all the changes we've seen in a short period of time. I often think back about what it must have been like when the world changed from horses to cars. That change was drastic too, but it was more gradual. These days, the pace of change has picked up drastically. We hardly have time to adjust. We don't even have time for nostalgia. On the other hand, perhaps there's more nostalgia than ever. :)

message 9: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Mary JL wrote: "Joy: Please feel free to move any topic any time!"

Thanks, Mary JL, I've moved this topic to the "Books and Reading" section.

message 10: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments JIm: I enjoyed your post. I have seen the trends as well. Partly, you are correct--it is so easy to order on the Net for most people. And libraries now offer music and movies.

But the fun of browsing for an hour or two in a used bookstore is one feeling I treasure! It has been such a part of my life.

Of course, I have a huge TBR pile; also library book sales and so on--but I will miss my friends. But I am in no danger of running out of books to read.

message 11: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 12, 2011 08:40AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments A big change for me was the ability to request books from our public library by email. Not only that, but I'm able to do an online search of the catalog of our entire library system. After finding the book in the online catalog, one click puts in my book request. I am notified by email when the book is being held at the library for me.

Below is a link to the online catalog:

This is why I don't have to buy books.

PS-As for enjoying browsing books in person, I do that at my public library as well. They have plenty of comfortable stuffed chairs for relaxing and reading too. There are even separate rooms which are comfortable lounges for relaxing and enjoying several different genres.

PPS-Our library also offers computers for the use of the public. There are rooms full of them.

message 12: by Werner (new)

Werner As Joy and some others have pointed out, library use does take the place of book buying for many people. As a librarian myself, I don't have a problem with that; certainly the economics of borrowing books versus having to buy them makes sense to readers who have to consider costs (which is most of us!). And the computer revolution has made it not only possible but easy to borrow pretty much any book you want to read by interlibrary loan if your local library doesn't have it. Personally, I've taken the position for myself that if the library where I work has a particular book, I have no need to own it (unless it's something that I read in every day).

That said, there are still respectworthy reasons that people may find (and I hope and believe, always will find) to buy and own some books for themselves. In my case, I tend to buy books of genres or types that I know my library doesn't collect heavily, and never will. While I could get them by ILL, I also know the postage costs both the lending and borrowing library money; and librarians tend to prefer to see ILL used as a supplement to their collection, not a substitute for it. (So I try to use it somewhat sparingly.) For these reasons, I believe that both libraries AND bookstores are vital components of a literate culture.

message 13: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Werner, I didn't realize that interlibrary loans cost postage. I assumed that the books were transferred via regular trips made between libraries by library employees. I've never thought of it as an extra expense for the libraries, but I suppose it must be, one way or the other.

message 14: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments In our library systems, you pay the postage for interlibrary loan.

message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6329 comments In MD, they had trucks on a regular route between libraries with each county having a designated center for deliveries of 'foreign' books.

I was on two different 'friends of the library' committees back there. We wound up doing more sale days because the lack of used books stores meant we had a lot more books being donated.

I knew the owners of several used book stores. Carol's, in Joppa, used to swap with Mr. K (can't recall his last name, but it was odd) who had one place just a few blocks from where I worked in downtown Baltimore. He had 7 other locations, down to 3 by the time I left. Anyway, they both told me there was kind of a loose organization between them & when they got too many of certain types, they'd trade boxes worth. They'd also trade specific volumes when a customer was looking for them.

Carol had the best selection of SF/Fantasy & Romance around, both huge sellers in her area. Mr. K was always looking for decorating, cooking, politics, history & biographies. He also did a lot with old & rare books. His places were in the city & those were his big sellers while Carol was way out in the suburbs. There was another place on 25th street that did rare books, although I never met that owner.

I asked all of them, at one time or another, what happened to all the stock from the places that used to be on the corner of Greenmont & 33d St, but none knew. (My cousin used to live on 34th st a couple of blocks west, near Memorial Stadium. It was the best reason to visit him.) One "the White Horse" (I think) specialized in SF & Fantasy. Another had a huge attic filled with old pulp magazines, none is super shape, but they were only 10 cents each & good for a read or two. All 3 were well known to be some of the best used book stores around.

My cousin moved & I hadn't been down that way for 5 years or more, but it wasn't too far from Memorial hospital where Marg had to get a procedure done in the mid 90's. While she was under, I took a walk & went over that way on 33d. Just before Greenmont, there was a gorgeous new library building (Enoch Pratt is Baltimore's library system.) It was closed & I'm not sure if it was ever opened. Graffiti covered it, a guy was peeing in the stairway & plywood covered one window. Pretty shocking.

The real shock was when I hit Greenmont, though. The stores were all boarded up & there were people sitting against the buildings. One was nodding off with a needle stuck in her arm. I walked about a block up looking around when a cop came up to me & asked me what I was doing there. I told him I was looking for the book stores & he looked at me like I was crazy & escorted me out, watching me as until I was a block further east on 33d where the neighborhood was good again. Apparently I'd wandered into one of the worst places in Baltimore. (There were a lot of them.)

It was heartbreaking.

message 16: by Werner (new)

Werner Jim, that is tragic! It's a wake-up call for what's happening, in a lot of ways that cut across the board, to our society --and it won't magically be confined to the "bad" neighborhoods in the big cities, either. Unless a lot of people start trying to make a difference, the country and the world our kids and grandkids inherit won't be a pretty place. Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox now!

Joy, the system you describe is one that library systems with more than one branch often use for exchanging books between them; and it used to be more common for interlibrary loans within relatively small local or area networks, in the days when contacts and searching for books was done by mail or phone. (At the college I graduated from, the library used to regularly exchange books that way with other college libraries in that part of the state.) But when ILL became possible to search and initiate online from a worldwide network (and when gas prices went through the roof), that delivery system became less viable.

Mary JL, some (not all) public libraries do make the patron pay the postage for his/her own ILLs. That's not as common among academic libraries, though. We don't at my library, because we figure we're here to serve the needs of scholarship, and people shouldn't be deterred by cost from getting books they need for that. I can understand why some public libraries do this, though; a lot of their budgets are tight, and the postage can be pricey if ILL is requested a lot.

message 17: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Mary JL wrote: "In our library systems, you pay the postage for interlibrary loan."

Mary JL, this is the first time I've heard of that type of thing. If I had to pay postage, I probably wouldn't be asking for many interlibrary book loans.

message 18: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 13, 2011 06:56AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim and Werner, those are sad things to think about.

PS-When I hear the outlandish prices that celebrities (and the rich) pay for their clothes, I wonder if they're aware of the poverty in the world. It's the old story of the "haves" and the 'have-nots". It's a complicated problem.

message 19: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 16, 2011 10:13AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Have you heard the news about Borders Book Stores? The news says: "Borders Group filed for bankruptcy protection this morning... ... Borders said it plans to close about 30% of its store network..."
(This link shows a list of which locations are closing.)

The NY Times says:
"As of Jan. 29, Borders... had 642 stores across the country. ...
...the company said it planned to close nearly 30 percent of its stores — about 193 locations ... over the next several weeks. ...

Not a good trend.

message 20: by Werner (new)

Werner Joy, I'd noticed, just before logging on here, that I'd gotten an e-mail about this on one of my library lists, but I hadn't read it. Thanks for the links above! According to the first one, no stores in WV are slated to be closed, so apparently our local Borders at Mercer Mall will stay open. (I virtually never trade there --I've bought one book from them, in all the years they've been open :-) -- but it's a wonderful place to window-shop.)

message 21: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 16, 2011 10:28AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments You're welcome, Werner. There's a more complete list here:
(Click on the column headers to sort by state.)
(Yes, I see that West Virginia isn't on the list at all.)

I see that the Borders store in Saratoga Springs, NY, near us, will be closing. Glad to hear that your local Borders isn't on the list. Yes, it's fun window-shopping in a book store.

message 22: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Totten (katherine42) | 199 comments Sad about our Borders here in Saratoga Springs. It will leave a big hole in the downtown area. I heard that 30% of those stores will be closing.

message 23: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Yes, Katherine, and a lot of people will be out of jobs.

message 24: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments In all seriousness, I seldom buy new books.

However, I had a thought. If every GR member brought just two books a year new, would it help?

I'm going to give it a try. We NEED to keep bookstores open---they and libraries are vital!

message 25: by Werner (new)

Werner Mary JL, I'm also a very infrequent new books buyer, but you struck a responsive chord in me just now, so I'm going to commit to doing the same. Maybe you've started something here!

One thought to think about, for those of you who (like me) already own so many unread books that you despair of ever getting through them: if you've got other readers in your family, books DO make great gifts!

message 26: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments Yes, Werner, books are great gifts! Also, if you do not know freinds who read--donating a few new books to a senior center or hospital library is a good susstitute.

message 27: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 17, 2011 09:25AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Mary JL wrote: "... If every GR member brought just two books a year new, would it help? ..."

As Werner said, books make great gifts. I bought some books for our grandkids at our local book stores. We have several: "Red Fox Books", "Dog Ate My Homework", "Lighthouse Books, Gifts, & Music", and "Book-N-Browse". Hope they are all doing OK.

message 28: by Werner (new)

Werner Mary JL, new books as library donations is a great suggestion! I'm not sure if the local hospital here even has a library, and I don't know about the senior centers in the area, either; but I do know that the college library where I work always welcomes useful donations. (And since I'm the collection development librarian, among other things, I know exactly what sorts of donations would be useful!)

message 29: by Nina (new)

Nina | 6069 comments Our local libraries have used book sales and they are quite popular. I hadn't heard about Borders' bankruptsy but they did close a store in our area. However, there is still one near by. I just hope libraries, at one point, don't follow suit. nina

message 30: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Nina, I surely would miss our public library and so would a lot of other people!

message 31: by Nina (new)

Nina | 6069 comments Aside from like you, I too would so miss my library, on a more personal note; my daughter is a children's librarian in Post Falls, ID and she would lose her job. nina

message 32: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Nina, I don't see the public libraries closing up at this point. I think they're needed now, more than ever.

message 33: by Nina (new)

Nina | 6069 comments Let's keep that thought!nina

message 34: by Mary JL (last edited Feb 18, 2011 04:50AM) (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments Due to shrinking tax revenues and the economy, some cities are cutting hours or closing branches.

In Omaha, in early August, 2009, the Library decided to close the Florence area branch until the end of the year.
They are the smallest branch with the fewest patrons.
Not wishing to be deprived of libary service for four months--and imho, possibly fearingthe 'temporary' closing might become permanent, the citiznes of Florence and other Omahans swung into action.

Several fund raisers were held. A HUGE used book sale was held with books pouring in from all over the city. Many Omaha residents who did not live in the Florence area sent cash to help their fellow readers.

They raised--ready?--over $100,000!! Impressed an anonmyous donor kicked in matching funds and the library branch is Florence did NOT close.

Thought you all might find that inspiring and interesting.

message 35: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6329 comments That is very cool, Mary JL.

We lived 10 miles away from the nearest library & really wanted one in our town. We finally got it after lots of fund raising & bothering the Powers That Be. I think they spent way too much money on making the place pretty. There was a huge area for reading that rarely had more than a person or two in it. I did appreciate the 'teen' area - a glassed off room where the younger folks could gather & not bother anyone.

They put in a dozen computers for common use & had a huge section for loaning out movies & audio books, too. I think those sections insure the library's continued prosperity, although it sure upset the local video store owner. He lost a lot of business to the library.

While trying to get our library built, I went to Baltimore & saw that branch of the Enoch Pratt so scarred up by the locals. It was heartbreaking. The Enoch Pratt caught a lot of flack for trying to close some of its branches, too. They didn't have the budget to keep some of them open - not surprising when so much money had to go toward repairing vandalism. A lot of people raised a stink & accused them of elitism. Stupid. If the folks in a neighborhood won't support their library & treat it right, they don't deserve it.

I don't go to any of the local libraries here very often. Right now, I'm downloading an audio book, Thereby Hangs a Tail, from the Louisville Library, though. Actually, it's coming from the NetLibrary & I think this copy is owned by one in Boulder, Colorado. Very odd, small world now, isn't it?

One thing I do to support the libraries is donate magazine subscriptions. When I get a renewal for a magazine, I generally wait a while for their second offer. Often that comes with a free gift subscription that is cheaply renewed the following year. Putting one of the libraries on that really helps them out.

message 36: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments It's interesting to read about those library problems and how they've been solved. Our library has benefited from some very generous donations in the past.

Below is a link to a photo of our newly expanded library in Glens Falls, NY:
(You can see the old section and the newer more modern section attached to it. It was quite an large expansion.)

Also, below is a link to a topic about it which I posted in 2008:

message 37: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments I am posting again to bring this up to the top!

I heard this weekend that "Friendly Used Books" in Omaha will close at the end of this year!!!

Now I will be without my three favorite bookstores! Backshelf Books closed two years ago; Pageturners closed in May, 2011 and now Friendly is going under!

Enough is enough! I do not go to bookstores just to buy books. I like to TALK about books and my booksellers are my friends!

Yes, I can get books other places---library book sales, thrift stores, etc--but I will miss the expereince and firendship of my book sellers.

message 38: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments Btw, I am unable to drive so the other bookstores are not nearly as accessible unless a freind gives me a ride!

message 39: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Oct 03, 2011 09:09AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Mary JL, I can understand how you must feel. I too like to talk about books. That's why I started this Goodreads group. Sometimes I go to our local library's book group discussions, but during the winter, I hate to go out in the cold weather. So Goodreads fills a need for me.

message 40: by Werner (new)

Werner I just wanted to report that I did meet Mary JL's challenge in 2011, and I've met it for 2012 as well! I hope to do the same in 2013, and just keep it going every year.

message 41: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments Great to hear, Werner! I try to buy a few new AND some used as I feel both types of bookstores fill a need!

I shudder at the thought of a world with no brick and mortar bookstores--just online ordering! Hopefully, it is unlikely to happen in my life time. Bookstores will become fewer--but hopefully not disappear entirely.

message 42: by Werner (new)

Werner We don't actually have a used book store in Bluefield (there is one in Princeton, WV, the county seat of the adjacent county; but I don't travel to Princeton very often). I've bought used books this year, too, but usually from vendors at area flea markets. But our favorite thrift store in Harrisonburg has a sizeable Book Savers outlet, and I usually find at least one book up there every summer!

message 43: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6329 comments We have or had a used book store near where I work, but their prices for what they buy & sell at are pretty horrific for the customer. I think they're hurting, but charging 75% of the cover price on a used paperback is beyond what I'm willing to pay.

message 44: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Oct 23, 2012 05:52PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Here's a link to a list of the used-book stores in our area:

The map on the page is actually a clear bird's eye view of the main roads in the area. Lake George is on the map too. :) (Click on "View Large Map" and zoom out.)

message 45: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments HI, me again. I am bumping this to the top.

Last night a huge fire in Omaha---no injuries--and Mary's Book Exchange is no more!!

Mary's has been around for more than 30 years in various locations. They were on 83rd and Blondo for years and my best friend and I visited frequently.

Had not been there for a long while as the store had changed locations twice. Also, she had very little SF/Fantasy and there were three other bookstores closer. Nevertheless, I mourn the loss of yet another bookstore in Omaha. The roof collapsed---there is nothing left. The people in that area will really miss it!!!

Come on someone---open a good used bookstores in Omaha! We've lost four now---Backshelf; Pageturners; Friendly and now Mary's! Enough already!

message 46: by Werner (new)

Werner Mary, I'm always sorry for everybody who's impacted by a destructive fire, and especially so when the business that's destroyed was a bookstore! Hopefully the place and its contents were insured, and they'll be able to re-open.

message 47: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6329 comments Oh! That's a bummer.

message 48: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 527 comments Werner: They may or may not re-open---too soon to tell. But the owners are in their late 60's--they may not want to start again. I hope so.

message 49: by Werner (new)

Werner Keep us posted on that, Mary JL. I'll cross my fingers along with you!

message 50: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Mary JL, sorry to hear about the fire and the loss of the book store. That's a shame!

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