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Monday, August 2, 2021

    Appreciation for Bookstores

    John A. Wojtecki
    Doctor John A. Wojtecki has 45 years of experience in Human Resources, Safety, and Training serving the toy, food, plastics, steel, and office furniture industries. John operates his own consulting business and is a Certified Facilitator in Real Colors. He is a volunteer with the Quad Cities Mediation Service. He posts monthly on his LinkedIn account.

    Muscatine Living

    It seems that every day is some featured day for activities, people, places, things, pets, favorite causes, whatever needs to be recognized. This past Saturday, April 24th, was Independent Bookstore Day.

    One of the dinosaurs of our society is the bookstore. I show my age in that I have made it a point to visit both Houston, Texas and Portland, Oregon bookstores when I was there.

    I know Muscatine had one in the past, and there were attempts at having another that never seemed to materialize. The Houston and Portland bookstores take up quite a sizeable square footage. Having one in Muscatine would present considerable challenges. Space does not come cheap, though there are quite a few open storefronts and it would seem a landlord would be willing to have their space occupied rather than empty. I wouldn’t mind giving it a try!

    Bonnie McCune, in this month’s “Mature Focus,” has an article titled “The undeniable lure of bookstores.” Bonnie’s second paragraph hits home, “A frequent favorite is the independent bookstore for it displays its individuality and eccentricities like a stylish woman parades her fashion and personality.” The Portland, Oregon bookstore is five floors full of wonderful opportunities. Wonderful opportunities to wander and appreciate the individuality and eccentricities. The Houston bookstore I visited is cramped, yet with an array of topics that would appeal to many a reader.

    As a consumer, you can drop by for five minutes or five hours. When I was in the Houston bookstore, the owner (I presume) was checking out the purchases for a customer that I assume was a regular, based on their friendly conversation, and them calling each other by their first name.

    Running a bookstore is a tough business. Chain bookstores pretty much eliminated most bookstores up until digital publishing and the COVID quarantines. Now, it’s even tougher.

    When I visited the Houston and Portland bookstores, I made purchases on learning Spanish and playing the harmonica. I even found a collector book from a noted harmonica player. The cost of the book, $3.50. A real steal!

    While the chain bookstores have closed, I love it that there is a bookstore in Davenport that advertises in “Mature Focus.” The Book Rack advertises itself as locally owned for 30+ years. They advertise over 68,000 books in inventory. Even 100+ local authors’ books are on site. Their website is https://www.thebookrackqc.com/

    It is open 10-6 every day. They will even trade books. It appears to me that the owner is making a grand effort at running their business against staunch competitors, chains, digital, and COVID. There’s even a store coupon in the “Focus” worth $4.00.

    After the COVID restrictions have passed (I hope sooner than later), I plan to visit the Houston, Portland, and Davenport stores and make purchases.

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