When Eric opened The Bookloft in May 1974, we were both fresh out of college. Watership Down topped the NYT Fiction Bestseller List, the House Judiciary Committee had just opened impeachment hearings against Richard Nixon, and we’d all been blithely singing along for years with the Beatles’ When I’m 64. The lyrics were sweet, the likelihood of our actually being 64 someday, pretty unimaginable.
But here we are. Eric has seen 64 come and go, and it’s fast approaching for Ev. So, with our kids far-flung and our first grandchild on the way, with enormous gratitude for 42 rewarding years of bookselling, and with many life dreams still unrealized (many of them involving the reading, writing, creating and selling of books), we’ve decided to sell The Bookloft. Hence, this letter.
Our bittersweet decision comes at an especially propitious time in the world of independent bookselling in the U.S. The American Booksellers Association reports that the number of independent bookstores has increased by 20 percent in the past five years. Sales of both e-readers and e-books continue to decline as early converts rediscover the essential place of “real” books in their lives.
A September 23, 2015 New York Times article observed that “independent bookstores, which were battered by the recession and competition from Amazon are showing strong signs of resurgence. The American Booksellers Association counted 1,712 member stores in 2,227 locations in 2015, up from 1,410 in 1,660 locations five years ago.”
It is our intention to find a new owner who will not only carry on with all that’s made The Bookloft a beloved literary destination in the Berkshires, but who will also bring to it new energy, experience and ideas. The essential building blocks for success are already in place: a loyal customer base, a smart, experienced, dedicated staff, the technology tools that allow us to remain current and relevant, and a warm, welcoming environment. In addition, we’re willing to work with new owners to ensure a smooth transition.
All it will take is someone who is passionate about books and all that they represent, someone who genuinely enjoys interacting with people and wants to see their literary needs well-served, someone with enough good judgement and business sense to lead a team of top-notch booksellers.
We’re contacting you directly because we know that you appreciate The Bookloft’s place in your life and its role in our community. Perhaps you or someone you know might be interested in leading it into the future. If so, please contact our friends and colleagues at The Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates at (904) 277-2664 or by email at MKaufman@PazBookBiz.com. They’ll be happy to tell you more about our business and its potential, and to provide you with the necessary training and education to succeed as a bookstore owner.
Thank you so much for your continued support and for your interest in ensuring that The Bookloft will be here to serve generations of readers for years to come.
Eric and Ev Wilska