The news must come as a shock to Auburn bibliophiles and all lovers of the printed page in the surrounding area.
But there it is, in black and white, the stark truth, taped to the inside of the front door:
“Comstock’s Bookstore is closed. Thank you to everyone for your friendship and support for 38 years.”
Comstock’s, that refuge in the heart of Auburn’s downtown, its shelves bulging with more 100,000 titles, with cats on the prowl, is no more.
With partner and ex-husband David Comstock’s recent passing, Anita Comstock closed a bookbinding service next to the bookstore.
She told the Auburn Reporter earlier this year that she had not yet made up her mind about the future of the business.
Comstock did not respond to a requested interview for this article, but has posted on the door a companion note, letting customers know that all is not lost: “While the store may be closed … the books live on!!! at Collins Books, Seattle, WA (206) 323-3999.”
In a recent article that appeared in this paper, Ms. Comstock said business had been robust until about 2000, when Kindle and similar electronic books as well as online competitors began to cut into Comstock’s market share.
According to that article, a Forbes study in 2014 found a 50 percent decrease in print book sales. A PBS Newsletter 2014 survey indicated that 70 percent of Americans prefer print books to electronic. The average adult reads five books per year, according to a Princeton Survey Research Associates study.