Colorado Springs’ best-kept secrets: Hooked on Books
Published: Saturday, November 26, 2011
Updated: Monday, May 7, 2012 02:05
America mass-produces toys, Kindles, e-Readers and iPads that revolutionize the flow of information.
It would seem that bookstores are on their way out. But not everyone agrees.
Mary Ciletti runs Hooked on Books, a small, independent used bookstore. She started this store 30 years ago and has been selling and trading books in her little shop since then.
According to Ciletti, the store has a stock of about 250,000 books. The subjects range from classics to young adult, from cooking to science fiction and from westerns to religious studies.
The used bookstore business, however, is struggling. With the rise in popularity of Kindles, iPads, and other methods of getting books, hardcopy business has started to fall by the wayside. Ciletti said, “It is getting harder.”
Ciletti, while checking in a stack of books someone had brought to sell, held up a non-fiction hardcover about Jack the Ripper. “Thirty years ago, I could have accepted this,” she said.
“Now, I just can’t. No one will buy it.” According to Ciletti, while once the store took almost everything that was brought in for trade, now it has to be extremely selective, as stock that simply takes up space isn’t earning any money. The Jack the Ripper book would have sat on the shelf, as the subject matter itself, while interesting, was not enough to sell it, and collectors would not want it without a dust jacket.
Ciletti has a plan, however. She said, “I think that bookstores have to become community centers. “ So rather than try and fight against the inevitable change in technology, the store is going to adapt and change its focus.
At one time, there was a coffee shop planning to open next door. Ciletti said, “We were going to have an archway between us.” Unfortunately, it did not pan out.
The landlord was unwilling to invest in an extensive remodeling project, and according to Ciletti, “[The coffee shop owners] would have had to pay $100,000 before they poured a single cup of coffee.”
Ciletti is still planning, though. She said that the store is in the process of reducing some of its stock to produce a wide open area on one side of the store.
According to her, that would be a community area. People would be able to come and read books, get on the free Wi-Fi and enjoy coffee.
This future mini-coffee shop is still in the planning stages, however. Ciletti has set up a pair of chairs and a small table, though, and serves free coffee and cookies.
Hooked on Books also schedules events. It has children’s story time, as well as poetry events and author signings. The children’s story time is a weekly event on Saturday mornings at 11 a.m. Other events can be found out about by calling the store or visiting its Facebook page.
Despite the struggles against the tide of technology, Ciletti is still cheerful about her job. “I was a teacher, and really like books,” she said. She definitely has her favorites, too. “I like learning when I read. I’m not really a pleasure reader.”
So the book business is moving toward becoming electronic, and bookstores must change to avoid closing. Borders Books found this out the hard way.
Hooked on Books is making the necessary changes to ensure that books – and all of the enjoyment that comes from actually turning pages – continue to remain a part of people’s lives.
What: Hooked on Books
Where: 3918 Maizeland Rd.
When: Monday - Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
How much: Prices for books vary
More info: 596-1621