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Kelowna News

Rise of e-books close West Kelowna book store

Mad Hatter Book Store owner Doug Campbell.

KELOWNA - It’s the start of a new chapter for Mad Hatter Book Store owner Doug Campbell.

After 30 years at the same West Kelowna location, Doug says that the time has come to start thinking about retirement.

The store, which opened in the summer of 1983, is packed to the ceiling with books of every genre. Over the years it has become a staple of West Kelowna readers and many residents are upset to see him go.

“I had one lady burst into tears when I told her,” Campbell says. “It was nice. I had to give her a hug.”

Although he will miss his customers, Doug says he is looking forward to having an open schedule.

“Retirement is not something I’ve been pining for, but on the other hand I don’t need the uncertainty anymore,” says Campbell.

He will miss his clients the most.

“My regular customers have been really good, but it’s the summer trade, when I get all of the tourists in, that used to be a really significant part of my revenue generation.”

He estimates that he has seen sales drop about 90 per cent during the months of July and August, mostly due to the rise in popularity of e-books.

“The last two summers have been really grim. It’s made a big dent but you have to accept change.”

Campbell plans to spend his retirement in the Okanagan, with his wife Donna, doing volunteer work, mountain biking, playing tennis and just trying to keep busy.

“It’s been really nice being able to make a living doing something I enjoy,” he says.

And his secret to good business: Know your product and like your customers.

“People who are book readers and book lovers tend to be my kind of people.”

Lee Ann Schmidt is one of the owners of J.K. Schmidt Jewellers, which is located next door to Mad Hatter. She and her husband have been in the same plaza since Campbell opened 30 years ago.

 “It’s very sad to see,” Lee Ann says. “We need a book store like this.”

The Mad Hatter Book Store is located at 5-2483 Main St, in West Kelowna and will be selling books at a minimum of 50 per cent of their marked price until the door closes permanently on Dec. 21.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infotelnews.ca, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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