Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

July 3, 2014

Andover Bookstore's future depends on community

Editor, Townsman:

As most of you know by now, we were recently given the word that Phillips Academy has chosen to break a 205-year tradition and get its textbooks through an online vendor this coming year; and if you’ve read the papers, you know what a hard blow this has dealt us.

The questions we’ve been getting almost daily since news first broke are, “So, when will the decision be made,” “Are you definitely closing” and “Are you getting a rent reduction.”

Here are the answers:

While a reduction in rent will certainly help to sustain us, the determination of whether or not we remain open for another 200 years sits on the shoulders of Andover itself. Without the patronage of our customers, we will not last — rent reduction or not.

The Andover Bookstore may not be able to offer you the low prices of Amazon (which comes back to retail value once you’ve added in shipping) or stock the quantities of Barnes & Noble. What we have to offer you is more subtle. It’s the wood-burning fireplace that you can smell from across the parking lot in the winter, it’s the animal crackers we put out daily, it’s in the level of customer service we can offer to you, where the others cannot.

Only at your local bookshop can you talk books with people who actually read them, browse hundreds of titles that you didn’t even know you were interested in, or curl up in one of our comfy chairs and read to your heart’s content.

If Andover as a community loves us and wants to keep us here, they can do that — with or without the help of Phillips Academy. So buy a book — for you, a friend, to donate ... we’re not picky. Come to our author events. Buy a card, a journal a quirky key chain. Keep your dollars in your community, and your community will continue to be one of the few that still is home to an independent bookstore. Shop local and your community will continue to be the home of the oldest, continually operating, general-interest bookstore in this country.

Chantel Coughlin

Assistant manager

Andover Bookstore

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