The used-book-store scene in downtown Asheville is changing. One store is closing, a new one has opened and two others are staying put—despite recent rumors to the contrary.
Amelia and Gene Woolf, who have been selling books for five years at Atlantic Books and Folk Art, plan to shut down in March. The couple has been in the book business for 30 years, Amelia Woolf said, and it’s “time for us to get out.”
The store’s packed shelves include everything from fiction to volumes about the region, art, architecture, the Civil War and more. The books will still be available, but they’ll be sold out of area antique malls, according to Woolf.
Why close up shop? Rent for the 15 Broadway location is increasing, Woolf said, and she and her husband, who moved to Asheville from Charleston, are looking forward to some travel time.
“We’ve been very appreciative to the Asheville response to the store. We really would like to thank our Asheville customers. It’s been a good five years,” Woolf said.
The store will close March 14, but most of the books will be moved out by the end of February, Woolf said.
While one store is closing, another has opened. The Friends of Buncombe County Libraries has opened “Bookends” inside Pack Memorial Library on Haywood Street. The store name refers “to the place where books end up,” said library spokeswoman Tammy Silver.
A grouping of shelves and bins at the rear of the library’s main floor, the store offers used paperbacks and hardbacks for adults and children. Prices range from 50 cents to $3, with most books priced at $1. There are plans to sell music and movies as well, Silver said. The store is open during regular library hours.
The store’s proceeds go to the Friends of Buncombe County Libraries. An annual book sale in October, which is normally the big fundraiser for library-booster group, won’t be held this year. If the bookstore continues to do well, the sale may not return, Silver said.
A couple of other booksellers plan to keep doing what they’ve been doing. Downtown Books & News has no plans to move from its Lexington Avenue location, according to owner Emoke B’Racz, despite rumors of a move to West Asheville. And The Captain’s Bookshelf, which offers fine and rare books for sale, also plans to stay put. A proposed sale of the Page Avenue building that houses the store fell through, so the shop plans to stay, at least for now.