"In New York City, after 34 years serving Manhattan's Upper West Side, the independent mystery bookstore Murder Ink will close on December 31. Owner Jay Pearsall also announced that the attached bookstore, Ivy's Books and Curiosities, will also close.
''We've been able to weather many storms, like having a Barnes & Noble 10 blocks away, but I'd have to say our rent is the number one cause for us going out of business,'' Pearsall told PW Daily. The current rent had been increasing by 5% each year, and has risen to $18,000/month. "At $18,000, there's nothing left," Pearsall explained.
Over the years, Murder Ink had changed with the times. "The Internet drove us out of the used and rare market about seven years ago," said Pearsall, who bought the store in 1989. "In many ways there's no such thing as a rare book anymore." There are no plans to keep the bookstore going as an online entity. "We used to do a big catalogue and online business, but we don't do much business that way anymore," said Pearsall. "It was pretty soulless sitting in front of a computer and running to the post office. I like to talk to people about books."
Trying to find another location for the store is not an option. "Now is not the time to open a new bookstore," Pearsall said. "I'm just going to take a little time off and try to write a book about things that happened here at the store and about how things have changed in the book and publishing world over the last 20 years."
Full disclosure: I once signed stock at Murder Ink. I have the world's worst sense of direction. I was signing at two bookstores, one on one side of Central Park and one on the other. It seemed easy enough. I would simply cut through. Why waste taxi fare? I walked miles and miles. Despite the fact that I could see the sun the whole time, I ended up an hour later on the exact same side of Central Park, just farther down. So I took a taxi.