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Bound To Be Read To Close

By David Steinberg
Journal Staff Writer
    Bound To Be Read, one of Albuquerque's few independent bookstores, will be closing by the end of this year, store officials announced Wednesday.
    Officials did not blame any single factor for the closing but they did cite the competition.
    "There are lots of competitors. There are mass market books available in a lot of locations. Your grocery store. I'm not blaming the national chains, the discount chains nor the mail-order companies," said Bernard Weiss, executive vice president of finance for Hubbard Media Group in St. Paul, Minn.
    Hubbard Media Group and Bound To Be Read are both subsidiaries of Hubbard Broadcasting Inc., which owns KOB-TV.
    Weiss said this economic reality coincided with two events— the Albuquerque bookstore's lease coming up at the end of 2005 and the interest expressed by a company in the space housing the Bound To Be Read store in St. Paul.
    Weiss said the St. Paul store is expected to close by the end of July.
    Julia Coyte, the Albuquerque-based president of both Bound To Be Read stores, was en route to Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon and was not immediately available for comment. Coyte is a member of the Hubbard Broadcasting board of directors.
    The bookstore in Albuquerque's Far North Shopping Center, at San Mateo and Academy NE, opened in the summer of 1996 with a concept— bright colors and whimsical interior decorations, such as half of a dinghy in the children's room where a kid can relax and read.
    Weiss and Margaret Shumaker, the store's general manager, credited the employees for much of its success and cheerful atmosphere.
    "They are smart. They are flexible. It's very much a team and people really pitch in," Shumaker said. "By flexible, I mean everybody in the store is trained to do pretty much everything— work the register, the floor and the coffee bar.
    "In general, people work in bookstores because they like books. They're very special people."
    About 80 percent of Bound To Be Read's inventory is books. The rest is a mix of other items— stationery, journals, dishes, games, candle holders, picture frames and handbags.
    Stan E. Hubbard, Coyte's brother and a member of the Hubbard Broadcasting board, said, "As hard as we tried to set up something that was new and different ... it wasn't enough."
    Hubbard said the stores were unable "to see (their) way to profitability."
    The Albuquerque Bound To Be Read store has consistently presented local and nationally known authors such as J.A. Jance, Sherman Alexie, T.C. Boyle and Richard Peck.
    It has also regularly hosted a number of book clubs, music mini-concerts and community fund-raising events.
    During the second week of May, Bound To Be Read will have a book fair to raise money for Georgia O'Keeffe Elementary's library.