Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

June 19, 2014

Community must maintain support for bookstore

The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman:

We have each been an employee at Andover Bookstore for over 24 years. When the store celebrated its 200th birthday in 2009, there was a feeling of relief that we were still surviving in this time of eBooks and the mighty Amazon. We were still holding steady because of our loyal customers and our connection to Phillips Academy.

The bookstore began on the campus of the academy in 1809 (the year Abraham Lincoln was born). For 205 years, the store has been supplying textbooks for students.

The Andover Bookstore is the second oldest bookstore in America. We were both alarmed to hear that Phillips Academy has chosen to sever ties with a local business; turning its back on our independent bookstore and choosing instead to team up with a billion-dollar textbook chain based in Illinois.

The bookstore has been a community gathering place, a setting for children’s story time, author events, poetry readings and the home of a number of book groups. Customers love to grab a cup of free coffee and some animal crackers and settle into an armchair beside the fire to browse. The building itself has a unique atmosphere. With its coziness and shadowy corners, it hints of mystery and of another time.

We have loved working at the bookstore and getting to know so many of our customers over the years. It has always been a vitalizing element in the community to have the Phillips students rubbing shoulders with the townspeople. It is our hope that the academy might reconsider the long-term effects (and probably unintended consequences) on the town, of its recent decision. Also, it is important for the community to continue its support of the bookstore during this difficult time.

Karen Harris

4 Standish Circle

Susan Lenoe

121 Main St.