November 30, 2008

Landmark Philadelphia bookstore closing

One of the last independent bookstores in Philadelphia, and likely the city's oldest bookstore, is closing its doors, its owner says.

Robin's Bookstore, founded in 1936 by the current owner's grandfather, will be shuttered Jan. 31, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Saturday. Larry Robin, who lives over the shop, plans to rent out the ground floor while holding poetry readings and other literary events -- with some used books for sale -- on the second floor.

Robin said the combination of competition from chains such as Barnes and Noble and the economic slump have taken the business from bad bearable to bad unbearable. His income from the store has dropped to less than $30,000.

But he said he has no bitterness.

I'm lucky, he told the Inquirer, because I've done what I love most of my life.

Robin said his philosophy was to mix best-sellers with books by unknown writers or on esoteric subjects -- things you're going to look at because you're interested and things I think you should know about.