Ending a chapter at Nice Price Books

Feb. 23, 2013 @ 02:07 PM

The news from Carrboro this week felt like a peek at the end of a novel: Nice Price Books is closing its doors.

Blame it on the economy. Blame it on digital books, movies and music on demand. Blame it on busted sidewalks and construction delays.

No matter the culprit, a third of the modest used-book empire of Cindy Kamoroff and Barry Blanchette will be gone in March after 26 years in business.

The Carrboro store opened in 1986 in the space now occupied by Cat’s Cradle before relocating to the former mill house on Boyd Street.

We’re accustomed to seeing news about big brick-and-mortar bookstore chains, such as Borders, plunging into retail oblivion. It’s sad to see it happen to a locally owned iconic business, especially one that encourages the exchange of well-loved books and an appreciation for literacy.

Maybe it’s just a sign of the times.

“It’s a younger population and a smaller population, maybe quicker to adapt to electronic media,” Kamoroff told the Herald’s Laura Oleniacz.

Between Amazon.com and iTunes, books, movies and music are just a finger tap away with all these smartphones and tablets that provide much-wanted convenience while depriving us of the experience of holding an actual book in our hands, creasing the spine while we plunge into the narrative and resist the urge to sneak back to the last page.

Back Alley Bikes will replace Nice Priced Books. We won’t begrudge the new occupants. We wish them nothing but the best in their enterprise. Fitness is important too, after all.

But wouldn’t it be great to still have a store where you could buy a dog-eared copy of Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea” to read on a park bench at the end of a cycling excursion?

The good news for avid media consumers is that remaining inventory at Nice Price Books in Carrboro is discounted for liquidation.

And although we’re losing the shop in Carrboro, Kamoroff and Blanchette plan to keep open their locations in Durham and Raleigh. For now.

“It sort of just depends on what people decide is important to them,” Kamoroff said.

We hope the surviving stores get the support they need, because this is a story we don’t want to end.