Saturday, August 1, 2009

Where Have All the Book Stores Gone?

Love old books? You're not alone--at least not yet. Unfortunately, another local used book store shuttered its door for the last time Friday. The Book Shoppe, formerly The Book Lion, on East Tuscaloosa Street in Florence has fallen victim to the economy. Owner Charlotte White informs us she will soon be opening an online store; such online emporiums are nice, but certainly cyber vending lacks the ambiance of an actual building where one may feel the richness of leather bindings and sniff the scent of a first edition's former owner.

Fortunately, for those in the Shoals area, all is not yet lost. Most libraries in the area carry at least a few shelves of donated books for sale. One never knows what one may find amid the tattered Harlequins and dog-eared technical manuals.

More importantly, Lauderdale County remains the home to three large used book stores. Ariannna's in the English Village caters to those seeking slightly used paperbacks in excellent condition. The store also carries hardbacks that can't yet be found in mass market paperback editions, plus a small selection of collectible editions. The Book Nook in the Parkway Shopping Center is not as large, but carries a wide range of romances and mysteries.

For those who venture to the Elgin community (and we highly suggest you do), K's Cove Used Books and Treasures stocks the largest selection of used books in the area, including the hard to find Ellora's Cave offerings and local histories. Owner Karen (K) Farmer also stocks a line of handmade soaps and bath salts in an array of exotic fragrances.

So, in the modern world of e-books on demand, does the indie bookseller have a future? I certainly hope so. I hardly think Jane Austin would approve of us reading her works on a Kindle.

What's up with this: Several of our sources report there will be some interesting news originating from the Haleyville/Winston County area. We'll be keeping you informed.