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Book Store to close shop after 32 years.

Byline: Ilene Aleshire The Register-Guard

A longtime Eugene bookstore will close this month when its owner retires.

The Book Store, at 1000 River Road, began 32 years ago when the Wilson family decided to diversify its army surplus store.

"The Book Store evolved from Western Exchange," said Dona Wilson, 40, who has worked in the family business since she was 5.

Her parents traded used electronics from the surplus store for 1,000 books, she said. "They thought the women could look at books while men looked at electronics."

That initial stock grew to more than 300,000 books, as the store went through several moves and became dedicated solely to selling and trading used paperback fiction.

Now, Wilson's mother, Lynne, has decided to retire and has sold the building to a chiropractic group, which means the store will be going out of business Sept. 26, or maybe Sept. 22 - "Depending on if we fall over from exhaustion," Dona Wilson said. The store has about 100,000 books on the shelves, and more in two semi-trailers they are now unloading.

"Telling our customers we're closing is so emotional," she said. "Some come in every day. We've known some of them for 20 or 30 years."

The store carries mystery, science fiction, popular fiction, westerns, historical and series romances, and replenishes its stock solely through trading, giving readers credits for books they bring in that can be put toward the acquisition of other books.

The customer base stretches from the coast to Bend, reaching into Washington, California and Nevada, Wilson said. "We've got a gal that comes comes down from Albany just because we carry stuff that's so old," she said.

Wilson said she thought about buying the building and continuing the bookstore, "but I couldn't afford it." She and her mother declined to give the asking price for it, but tax records show the building and lot were assessed at $317,436 in 2006.

The store will be closed for its usual days off Sunday and Monday, but then will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until Wilson and her mother close for good. After that, Wilson's not sure what lies ahead for her.

"I'm really quite torn, I'm at a turning point in my life: Finding a real job out there, or exploring the possibility of opening my own store, if I can find a location that's affordable," she said.

Wilson said she has done some research on opening a bookstore but that, considering rental prices in Eugene and competition from the Internet and thrift stores, it's a daunting prospect.

As for her mother, Wilson said that a customer recently asked Lynne Wilson what she's going to do after the store closes.

"She said, `I think I'll just sit back and read.' '
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Title Annotation:Business; The owner of the paperback exchange sells the building as she prepares to retire
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 1, 2007
Previous Article:FOR THE RECORD.

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