Thom Butcher and Melanie Tighe opened Dog-Eared Pages Used Books in 2008 in a strip mall on 32nd Street just south of Bell Road.
The used, rare, and collectible book treasure trove is stocked with almost 50,000 copies across all genres. But according to a note Tighe sent out to customers, the store might not be around much longer.
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"Our landlord has been very patient with us while we tried to build the bookstore into a viable business, and they graciously allowed us to "float on our rent a few months," but now it's time to pay the piper or shut our bookstore down; they cannot allow us to "float" any longer, and rightfully so," writes Tighe.
The note encourages all customers with trade to use it within the next 30 days. According to Tighe, she and Butcher must come up with an extra $5,000 in a month, another $5,000 in 60 days, and $5,000 more in 90 days.
As of this morning, Butcher says the store raised $1,200 over the weekend and another $400 yesterday. "If we can get the word out to the reading community, I'm hoping we can keep it all together," says Butcher. "We do so many community events, author visits, book clubs -- it'd be such a shame to have it all go away."
Dog-Eared Pages has made headlines since it opened because of its selection of books by local authors that are sold on consignment and its "Books for Soldiers" program, which sent books to U.S. soldiers overseas.
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Unfortunately, Tighe and Butcher's struggle to keep their bookstore alive is a common one across the country -- for indie and big-box bookselling businesses. Many blame the rise of e-readers and a bad economy. Others look to the changing role that physical books play in contemporary culture (for more on that, check out this week's cover story, Disappearing Ink: What Will Happen to All the Books?).
Butcher says if the bookstore can't meet its goals, the books will likely be snatched up by their friends who own other local bookstores. The remainder will be donated to the VNSA and the jail system through Operation Orange.
"It's time for the reading community to step up or you lose another community independent bookstore," Tighe writes.