A Book Store is Closing

- by Bruce E. McKinney

Used book selling on the slippery slope

When a diner or shoe store closes the two rarely raise the ambient decibels while, when a bookstore closes, the future of civilization is imperiled.  The difference is that bookstores, for many, symbolize their residual faith in the society we live in.   From childhood we learned by reading and have always since relied on this basic skill to understand the world.  When a book store closes we often feel a sense of threat.


Such angst should not be surprising, as for more than 20 years our children and their children have been learning online and many simply have not become emotionally attached to the printed word.  Information yes, books not necessarily.


For those us of a certain age this is difficult to accept but our reality has long been that bookstores have been disappearing for decades.  That another closed on April 28th in Boulder, Colorado, seems inevitable.


What brings me to this subject as that the proprietor of Red Letter Books announced, “that after 31 years at 1737 Pearl St., we are being asked to leave. Developers are going to tear down half the block on 17th and Pearl to make way for luxury condos and upscale dining. Heartbreaking. We thought we had more time, but it looks like we are being asked to leave by April 29th. We would like to make it clear that this is not our decision, nor is this due to the pandemic. We’ve been contributing members to the neighborhood for 31 years. Sadly, no longer. We will continue selling books in some capacity, but at the moment, we do not have a new location. We are not entirely sure when our lady plan for the public will be. Please stay tuned for more information.”


I’ve looked over their web presence and haven’t found a database of their material which looks to be of the catch and catch can variety.  Many bookstores in their last stages become everyday bookfairs providing tens of thousands of possibilities but little or no cataloguing. Such material is often priced by fiat, “all material in a section is $10” or some other number. Such an approach has long been employed elsewhere to turn browsers into buyers.


I have no doubt the firm and their friends will find each other on the web, quite possibly on Facebook, as they seem to have a robust presence.  Yahoo also seems to be keeping tabs on them.


And one last word, they seem to be trying to raise capital on a go-fund-me basis.  Such efforts sometime work but long term solutions cannot depend on charity.


References to this online:



A facebook link



Yelp about Red Letter Secondhand Books




Use a search of Red Letter Secondhand Books you’ll find them referenced on many sites.