Copperas Cove’s last remaining book store finished its final chapter Saturday, closing its doors after nearly three decades.
Owner Sandra Andrews packed up the remaining items in Books, Comics and Things at 409 E. U.S. Highway 190, after final customer purchases on Saturday. The store, which averaged 47,000 titles in stock at any given time, had bare shelves and empty aisles.
“I tried to always keep books on the shelves that were popular and ones that people were asking for,” Andrews said. “I did a lot of (book) trading and always tried to offer a little of everything.”
Love of books
After developing a love of books in her youth, and working at a bookstore in Killeen, Andrews opened her store in 1984.
“There are so many people I’ve met who have become friends. I have enjoyed getting to know them over the years. I’ve enjoyed seeing them as babies and now they come in with their own children,” Andrews said. “I will most miss not getting to see them all the time.”
Andrews, 66, had a stroke in September 2012, losing a lot of mobility on her right side.
“I have tried for the last year to continue operating the store, but it has just gotten to be too much,” she said. Her grandchildren helped her restock shelves and do other tasks that required heavy lifting.
In the store’s final hours, Bill Luke of Copperas Cove purchased all of the Star Trek paperbacks at 15 cents each. He had been coming to the store since 1985. Marjorie Mitchell of Copperas Cove had a trunk full of books she was taking to nursing homes, the veterans hospital in Temple and her church.
Loss to residents
Jason Baker of Lampasas said the store’s closing will be a loss to residents.
“I’ve been in here quite a few times and it’s sad to see (the store) close. It’s hard for a used book store to stay open nowadays with people using their iPads and everything,” Baker said. “It seems that all of the used book stores are closing. There is one left in Burnet. Otherwise, we’ll have to drive to Austin.”
Andrews said she tried to sell the store but was not successful. She said the economy has taken a toll on her business in addition to technology as more readers switch to tablets and other electronic devices.
Harvey Hawes gave the store a five-star rating on Yahoo.com.
“Best little book shop in Copperas Cove/Killeen area. The shop owner is very friendly, likable and helpful,” Hawes wrote. “The store has almost any kind of book you can think of, I found some out-of-print books I’ve been looking for (for) years.”
In retirement, Andrews said she will continue her rehabilitation from her stroke, which includes square dancing as a form of therapy.
She said it will be difficult on Monday morning to get out of bed and not have the store to go to. “I could cry,” she said. “I am thinking about it and trying to prepare myself, but it’s hard to face. I wonder, ‘What will I do with myself?’”