Curious Book Shop in East Lansing has been in business for more than 40 years. It is a rare success in the bookselling business when many are closing shop.
On December 31, East Lansing’s Barnes and Noble will shut down for good. Add to that the recent liquidation of Ann Arbor based bookseller, Borders, some are wondering about the future of bookstores.
Ray Walsh has been the sole owner of Curious Book Shop since 1973.
Walsh says it all started when Walsh was a student at MSU who sold books out of his garage to earn some extra cash.
“It was my perspiration to pay my way through school,” Walsh says. “I always enjoyed reading and hope to pass that passion on to the community and I feel like I have for the past 40 some odd years.”
Curious Books is a 100 by 18 foot store with three floors located on Grand River Avenue. Walsh says it is not a place where you are going to find textbooks or encyclopedias or book of the month club fiction.
In 1987 Curious Bookshop was overflowing with material so they set up another shop here on Grand River that has been in business for over 24 years.
Walsh says he has seen a handful of bookstores pop up and then close in East Lansing over the years and says he is sad to see Barnes and Noble go.
“Any time a community looses a literary source; it is never good for the community.” Walsh says. “It’s always good to have more books available to people and certainly with the 29,000 sq. feet of books being available and such a wide choice; Barnes and Nobel certainly filled a community need.”
As many Bookstores have closed their doors, it’s evident the industry is struggling and many people argue that is due to the rise online book sales and e-readers like the kindle.
The book business is a 19-billion dollar industry. Online sales contribute nearly half of overall sales and are an area that will continue to grow.