The Oregonian is reporting that one of Portland's best small bookstores, Hawthorne's mystery-oriented Murder by the Book, will close its doors in April if a buyer isn't found. There is "no mystery about the death of Murder by the Book," the O writes (a headline writer just lost her wings)—business is down, a trend the owners attribute to fewer customers being willing to pay full-price for books.
This is a big loss for the Portland literary community—Murder by the Book is a truly great, eclectic little bookstore, and a clear labor of love for its owner and staff. It's also a sobering reminder that if you want to keep bookstores around, you have to support them with your dollar bills. (If you don't care, then enjoy your Kindle guilt-free.)
A few months ago Erik and I went on an epic-weekend long bookstore-visiting binge, and wrote about all of our favorite non-Powell's bookstores—Portland is full of wonderful, often-overlooked small bookstores. Now might be a good time to check out that list, and visit one of the many tremendous stores in the Portland area. (Wallace Books in Sellwood is a great place to start, or the crazy-cheap Bingo Used Books on Powell.)
As for Murder by the Book, according to a note on their website they're actively looking for a buyer for the store, and in the meantime, sales will begin on January 12.