Queen Anne Books, a charming little book vendor atop Queen Anne Hill has closed its doors -- again -- just six months after it was sold to a new owner. It's certainly no secret that independent booksellers are an endangered species, but it still stings each and every time we see one go under.
Owner Katherine Hershey declined to say why she's shuttered the store and put it up for sale so soon after purchasing it in April. "I can't say why we're closing," Hershey told The Daily Weekly, "but I don't think it's going to stayed closed for that long. I hope to have a new buyer and I hope the store will open up again in December."
Several weeks ago, Hershey owner posted this announcement on the bookstore's website:
To the Queen Anne Book Store community:
I am writing today to let you know that I will be leaving Queen Anne Books as of the end of November. This has not been an easy or hastily made decision, and I thank all of you for your loyalty and your commitment to Queen Anne Books during the period of time that I have been a part of the store.
I would like to find a buyer for the store from among the wonderful community of people who have supported Queen Anne Books over the years. I encourage anyone who is interested to contact the store in person, by phone, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
In the literary food chain, it has been the indies that were the first to perish. In the past 10 years, more than 1,000 small bookstores have closed throughout the U.S. In the beginning, it was the mega-stores that squeezed out the small players. Then the chains were gobbled up or driven under, as customers turned to the Web, or surrendered to Amazon's thuggish ways.
It won't be long before we become nostalgic, not only for the Queen Anne Books of the world, but, and who'd a thought, even for the Crown Books, the B.Dalton's and Borders.
Let's hope Queen Anne Books finds another owner, and that the store lives a long, good life.
And that the new owner, whoever that may be -- if in fact that person materializes -- won't have to repeat the sad lines Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) spoke in You've Got Mail, upon closing the beloved store her mother bequeathed her:
"But the truth is, I'm heart broken. I feel as though a part of me has died and my mother has died all over again and nothing will ever make it right."