By Natalie Younts
Killeen Daily Herald
Since the death of Pope John Paul II on Saturday, area stores have struggled to keep books about the pontiff on the shelves.
Hastings in Killeen originally set up a display of books written by or about the pope on Friday.
"We set it up early because we knew it was coming," said store manager Jason Graham.
Within several days, the collection had become so small that it had to be transferred to a miniature shelf, Graham said.
Copperas Cove resident Curtis Epley browsed through a book called "The Loving Heart (Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II)," at Hastings Wednesday afternoon.
While reading the book, which was released on Tuesday, Epley learned that the pope instituted a World Day of the Sick.
Epley described himself as a "holiday Catholic," saying he only went to church on certain holy days.
He said he respected the pontiff as a leader and thought the next pope should be a man who is somewhat young.
Graham said prayer books, including "The Loving Heart," were among the most popular.
He said the books in the display were previously scattered throughout the "biography" and "Christianity" sections of the store.
Since his inventory had been reduced by more than 50 percent, he had placed orders for additional books.
Family Christian Stores in Killeen carries two books about the pope; they are currently sold out, said Corey McAndrews, assistant manager.
The store is able to special order the two titles they do carry.
"We've had a huge increase in people that are asking for them," McAndrews said.
The two books available from the store are "Celebrate 2000: Reflections on God the Father With Questions for Reflection and Discussion" and "Reasons for Hope: Daily Readings."
A manager at B. Dalton Bookseller in the Killeen Mall, who asked not to be identified, said she was sold out of every pope book and only had magazines left.
"As he was getting really sick, everybody started buying all the stuff," she said.
Eva Good, store manager of Waldenbooks in the Killeen Mall, said the store had not completely sold out of any pope books yet, but that sales had heavily increased since his death.
Employees at Waldenbooks set up a special display Wednesday of pope books in the front of the store, along with special editions of Time magazine and U.S. News and World Report.
Three books authored by the pope were listed on Amazon.com Wednesday as being in the list of 20 best-sellers: "Memory and Identity: Conversations at the Dawn of a Millennium," "Pope John Paul II: In My Own Words" and "The Way to Christ: Spiritual Exercises."
Pope John Paul II's documents include 14 encyclicals, 15 apostolic exhortations, 11 apostolic constitutions and 45 apostolic letters.
The pope also published five books: "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," "Gift and Mystery: On the 50th Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination," "Roman Triptych Meditations," "Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way" and "Memory and Identity."
Contact Natalie Younts at firstname.lastname@example.org