Online vendors and e-books have spelled the end for Chester County Book & Music Company—or perhaps the beginning of a new, more modest chapter.
According to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the massive independent bookstore, located on Paoli Pike just past Route 202, will close its doors at an uncertain date in the near future. The owner is considering options, such as keeping a smaller version of the store open.
The bookstore was founded in 1982 by Kathy and Bob Simoneaux, and it expanded over the years to include hundreds of thousands of titles and a restaurant. But the likes of Amazon and Kindle cut too deeply into its business:
But now, Simoneaux faces what is almost inevitable for independent booksellers under pressure from e-readers and online sales. Chester County Book & Music, one of the largest independent booksellers in the region, is closing.
Exactly when is unclear. After Simoneaux told the shopping center management she couldn't afford to stay after her lease expired last January, they offered reduced month-to-month rent while they negotiated with a fitness center to take over the space.
The store was a mecca for literature lovers throughout the region, including an Immaculata University professor quoted in the Inquirer article.
If it's any consolation to its devoted fans, the store outlasted Borders, a one-time competitor that closed in 2011.