When entering The Book Rack, located in what’s left of the Market Square in Russellville, you are greeted with the sound of wind chimes, soft oldies playing in the background, the smell of a scented candle and a warm hello, can I help you from owner Kathleen East. Her business is but one of a few left in the once thriving market, unfortunately, soon The Book Rack will suffer the same fate as most have in that area, and will be closing in a matter of weeks.
The little hole in the wall business has been serving those who love to read for over 30 plus years and offers almost any kind of adventure you wish to delve into, rather it be solving a mystery, gun slinging in the old west or romancing on the seashore with a tall dark stranger, The Book Rack offers a plethora of genre to enjoy for a small price tag.
Shelves line the walls tight with book after book in this small, but very quaint business, which adorns red shag carpet and the feeling of solace with knowledge and fantasy at your fingertips.
The closure will be tough for East, who purchased the store from Bill and Melba Bailey in the early 1980s, when she needed a job. The Baileys had opened the store approximately six months before East bought it. This was the seventh store for the Baileys, said East, who was working on a farm at the time, but needed additional income. The time was right, East said, and so was the price, so she took a chance, one which she is happy she did.
East is a native of Oregon and found her way to Kentucky by way of a Todd County man who she had met and married. After spending the last three decades here, she says she now has roots in Kentucky and claims it as her home.
“I have loved working in the store,” said East. “I have met a lot of people, most of which I know by face. I will miss it a great deal.”
East says it’s been hard keeping the doors open at the store. She admits it’s been a struggle over the past few years. Like with most things, sometimes there is a bad with the good and this holds true for technology, which can be a curse as much as it can be helpful. Technology, says East, has played an intricate part in closing the doors of The Book Rack, simply because people aren’t buying as many books off the shelf, but instead on-line.
In a day when a good deal of people either own a Nook, Kindle or some other kind of e-reader, the hand-held book is beginning to go the way of the DoDo bird. This is happening with a lot of information/entertainment based products that can now be easily accessed with the touch of a button and for less cost.
East says she can’t get in the newest books any longer and offer them at prices people can get them for online. She says people don’t want to come into her store and see the same old reads time and time again.
“Technology has changed the book industry, but you can’t stop progress,” said East, adding that she herself likes to hold a book in her hand, but understands that this generation will be wanting to hold a devise instead.
One of the best things East has been able to do while at the store is catch up on reading, which she loves to do. She says for the first several years she read a great deal. She said when people came into her store, they needed to concentrate on what it was they wanted to read, so she kept quiet and read herself.
East says she will only stay open a matter of a few more weeks to get rid of as many books as she can. Right now everything in the store is going for half off. If you are interested, you can find a great deal of different reads including, best sellers, westerns, science fiction, mysteries, children’s books, horror, romance and the paranormal, to name but a few.
When asked what she will do next, East answered, “I’m going to travel, I’m going to go crazy.”