And then there was one: Chapter closes on last North Tahoe independent bookstore |

And then there was one: Chapter closes on last North Tahoe independent bookstore

Photos by Jenell Schwab The Bookshelf in the Cobblestone Center in Tahoe City closed down last week. The Bookshelf in Truckee will offer Tahoe City delivery through Geared for Games in the Boatworks Mall.

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. andamp;#8212; Residents and visitors along Lake Tahoe’s North Shore will no longer find it easy to peruse the shelves of a local bookstore. Last week, the Tahoe City branch of Bookshelf Stores, Inc., in the Cobblestone Center finished its last chapter and closed its doors for good.Not only was the Bookshelf the sole remaining bookstore in Tahoe City, it also was the last establishment of its kind along the entire North Shore.andamp;#8220;It’s hard in Tahoe City,andamp;#8221; said proprietor Debbie Lane. andamp;#8220;You have Christmas, July and August. I had a great Christmas, but then I just ran out of money.andamp;#8221;Still, Lane holds high hopes her second store, the Bookshelf branch in Truckee, will fare better. Local shoppers compose up to 70 percent of her business in Truckee, she said, whereas her clientele in Tahoe City was 50 percent tourists.andamp;#8220;Even if your business is good for six months, what do you do for the other six months?andamp;#8221; Lane said.Though the public perceives independent bookstores as a dying breed, the perception might be an illusion, said Hut Landon, executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association.andamp;#8220;If a store has been around for 30 years and closes, then the public thinks, oh-my-god-what-happened-and-isn’t-it-terrible. Store closings get more press than openings,andamp;#8221; Landon said.NCIBA is a 199-member non-profit organization representing independent booksellers from the Monterey peninsula north to the California/Oregon border and east. The Bookshelf in Tahoe City was its 200th member.Landon said as many independent bookstores opened as closed last year, a trend that holds true both regionally and nationally.The key to success for new, independent bookstores is for owners to stay abreast of changes, to keep up with the technology and to focus on what independents do well, Landon said.andamp;#8220;I guarantee you that if you go into Debbie’s store, she will have books on the shelf that you won’t find on the shelf in Barnes andamp; Noble,andamp;#8221; he said. andamp;#8220;As an independent bookseller, she can do that.andamp;#8221;And she does. Lane carries a slew of regional authors, including novelist Todd Borg, who writes mystery thrillers set in Tahoe; Kathy Boyd Fellure, author of andamp;#8220;When the Birdies Came to Teaandamp;#8221;; Thomas Bachand, photographer and writer of andamp;#8220;Lake Tahoe: A Fragile Beautyandamp;#8221;; David Antonucci, who recently penned “Fairest Picture andamp;#8212; Mark Twain at Lake Tahoeandamp;#8221;; and Mark McLaughlin, writer of andamp;#8220;Longboards to Olympics: A Century of Tahoe Winter Sportsandamp;#8221;.andamp;#8220;I know I forgot so many good names,andamp;#8221; said Lane.Lane has also revamped her website,, to allow customers to purchase e-books for all e-readers, except Kindle. andamp;#8220;There’s nothing preventing a person from Sacramento who visits occasionally from making The Bookshelf in Truckee his or her own independent bookstore,andamp;#8221; Landon said. andamp;#8220;There is hope for the future.andamp;#8221;

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