It seems like every time we turn a corner, another book store closes. I know that over the last few years, as I've been exploring book shops, libraries, and other bookish things, I've covered or reported on the closing of a handful of such locales--the Mercury Cafe Lending Library in Chicago, the Theological Library in the Chicago Convent, the Barnes and Noble in Lincoln Center, the majestic seminary library of Mt. Saint Alphonsus, and others. This story is now about a year old, as it was probably last January or so when I came across this book shop, Merritt Books, in Redhook, NY--not far from Rhinebeck, NY, where Oblong Books still survives. As I drove by the store, I saw signs that read something like "Going Out of Business," so I went in and inquired.
And so, it was true. And what I found were mostly empty shelves--shelves which once held hundreds, maybe thousands of books. And though it had not closed completely yet, they were now selling off their shelving units, at varying prices, but somewhere in the area of $100-$400. There were still some items left, but not many. The shop itself closed just a few weeks after my visit. Luckily, it was only this location that closed, I later found out. There is now a Merritt Books in Millbrook (not Millerton, where Oblong is). As the market for bookshops tightens with online book shopping, there is a hope that they may find a specific niche, which will help them flourish. And there book shops that ARE flourishing. We just need to keep visiting them.