East Bay News

Beloved Lafayette book store to close its doors

Monday, June 07, 2010

The oldest operating book store in Contra Costa County is closing its doors the summer, as more people turn to the internet to obtain publications.

"We sat down and looked at our business plan four years ago and sort of realized how this story ends," Lafayette Book Store owner Dave Simpson said.

Simpson knew the day would come, but it doesn't make closing his brick and mortar store any less difficult.

"This has been something that we've enjoyed and the community's enjoyed for many, many years and to see that pass has been a challenging thing for all of us," he said.

The Lafayette Book Store opened in 1962 and it has been owned by Simpson for the past 12 years.

Regular customers can't imagine their town without this familiar, friendly place.

"You can go online or go into Barnes & Noble and it's just not the same one-on-one experience," customer Abby Howard said.

But this brand of bookselling is being squeezed out by big chains and online discounters. The retail price for Oprah's book is $30, but sells on Amazon for $15.

"Books like that have become commoditized. And by that I mean not only can you get them at chain book stores at a discount, at Amazon, but also mass market retailers like Costco and Target," Simpson said.

Another issue for this store and others is that you no longer have to have a book to read a book. But not everyone likes their publications on gadgets like the Amazon's Kindle, Barnes and Noble's Nook or Apple's iPad.

"I'd much rather hold a book in my lap where I'm sitting comfortably rather than staring at a screen," book lover Beverly Scaff said.

Simpson says while his store will go away, the business will live on, through its website, special orders, special events and weekly gatherings around town.

And, the popular recommendations will continue.

"We're actually continuing to cultivate the relationships that we developed through the years. We just won't have the physical location to meet in," Simpson said.

The Lafayette Book Store will close on July 29.

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Tags:
contra costa, lafayette, east bay news, laura anthony
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