Another small, family-owned bookstore has closed its doors. For those of you who might be reading this in places beyond the Greater Glens Falls Region, the name Red Fox Books might not ring a bell, but its name is emblematic of the rapid decline of bookstores large and small that sell actual, as opposed to virtual, books. Red Fox Books’ owners Susan and Naftali did Glens Falls a mighty service for their five years on Ridge Street, including providing the wonderful venue where new authors could sell their books. I am one of those new authors and I thank them for the trust they placed in me and for making my novel known to more readers.
On their Red Fox Books website, Susan and Naftali posted an honest, heartfelt message about their decision to close. I encourage you all to read it. Here is a pertinent quote, which is chilling to read:
Unfortunately, the extremely sluggish regional economy and the rapid rise of e-books have led to a shocking decline in our sales over the past year. We don’t foresee conditions improving in the near future, and at this point, we have exhausted all our resources to keep the business afloat. We want to believe that bookstores won’t die out entirely, but for the time being, the challenge posed by digital media, in all its forms, is simply too much for us to withstand.
The message continues with the hope that someone might want to continue the store and gives contact information. Again, I urge you to read it in full by going to their site, Red Fox Books.
I have written since 1975, when I first started a local history column for the Post-Star in Glens Falls. This change to electronic media is one I comprehend, yet do not understand, if you appreciate the nuance. Over the years, I have collected books and written books. The Burning of The Piping Rock was my first novel. I was thrilled to have my book carried by Red Fox.
I won’t veer down memory lane with a soliloquy on the joy of reading from a paper book, or collecting books, or even publishing them. I will simply say goodbye, again, to yet another place where fingers could touch bound, printed paper on which the print could become a smudge, the pages dog-eared and worn and, perhaps even filled with handwritten notes that led the reader to become a writer.
Thank you Naftali and Susan. I wish you both all the best in the world.