Thursday, December 6, 2007

An Unlikely Story

I hate it when small, wonderful independent bookstores go out business. The Washington Post has a story today about the sudden closure of A Likely Story in Alexandria, Virginia. It was a fabulous place, and one of the few children's bookstores in the Washington D.C. area. I had heard a few weeks ago that the store might be going out of business but was quite sad to read that it actually had closed. This is a store I've been to several times, and it's the place where I had the epiphany that I should work in the children's book field.

There's a heartfelt letter to customers and the community on the store's website. Best of luck to the owner, Dinah Paul and the staff of A Likely Story. I'm sorry to see you go.

Every time I read a newspaper story about the closure of a small, beloved business, I have the same thought. Why can't these articles appear before the store is closed? After it's gone, there's not much anyone can do (except in the extraordinary case mentioned below). But if a store is struggling... an article in a publication like the Washington Post might give it a well needed boost, and may interest potential investors.

And, lest you think this is an unlikely pipe dream... look no further than Kepler's of Menlo Park, California. Kepler's actually did close for a month, and then 17 business owners stepped forward to form a new board of directors. The bookstore reopened in 2005 and is enjoying a new lease on life.


  1. I was sad but not surprised when I saw this morning; we lost a children's bookstore in Arlington lasy year, too (although we still have Aladdin's Lamp--have you been there?).

  2. Anamaria- I haven't been to Aladdin's Lamp yet, although I certainly know about it. I have to add that to my list of things to do after my grad school finals are over.

  3. Eek, exams. I'm a recovering academic myself (ABD, Romance Languages and Literatures, UM-Ann Arbor). Best of luck. As for Aladdin's Lamp, it's a nice little bookstore, tucked away in the lower level of a strip mall--and less than 2 miles from my house.