Local shop hasn’t seen surge since Borders left
Carson City lost its only general interest bookstore in September and what seems to be the next closest thing hasn’t noticed an increase.
Used bookstore Dog-Eared Books, on Fairview Drive in Carson City, is the closest thing to a brick-and-mortar, general-interest bookstore in the area, with the others serving more niche audiences or only operating online. Its owner, Susan Hoffman, said she never directly competed with Borders while it was here and even had a symbiotic relationship with it.
“Like my husband says, what do we sell? Used books,” she said. “Where do used books come from? New bookstores.”
Her store also hasn’t benefited from Borders leaving, at least not noticeably, Hoffman said. Instead, it’s the diversion of U.S. Highway 395 traffic down Fairview Drive, where the store sits, and e-readers like the Amazon Kindle.
She said she’s lost 30 percent of her business just since the highway began ending at Fairview, with the increased traffic making it more difficult for customers to turn into the parking lot.
“It’s been kind of a disaster,” she said of the Fairview problem.
And then there are the e-readers, which hurt her business on both sides, hurting more than just the closure of the big box store. She also noted the new Amazon offer where Kindle owners can rent library books for free if they have a paid Amazon Prime subscription.
“You don’t even have to buy the book anymore,” Hoffman said. “I’m concerned that the entire concept of the paper book is not long for this world. And as a teacher, that kind of makes me sad.”
Hoffman owns the store but leaves its day-to-day management to a family member.
Andrea Moore, programming outreach manager for the Carson City Library, said it has seen a boost in traffic and use recently, but she pins that on a down economy more than Borders closing. Like Hoffman, she said the library competed for a different audience than Borders did.
“We’re busier than ever,” she said. “But, if a person is going to buy a book, they’re going to find a way to buy a book.”
She said she didn’t think the lack of a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Carson City would detract from its culture – locals still have plenty of access to the written word, be it through online options or even ordering specific titles through some of the box stores, such as Walmart.
She joked that it is nothing like traveling with her military-employed husband in the 1980s, where she would end up reading cereal boxes for her fix of nouns and verbs.
The Friends Holiday Book Sale will be at the Carson City Library auditorium today and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.