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Northbridge Mall’s Book World is closing its doors

Book World will close its Northbridge Mall location on Sept. 15. - Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Book World will close its Northbridge Mall location on Sept. 15. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Store officials say not enough people buying books there

Book World will close its Albert Lea location in Northbridge Mall Sept. 15.

The store hasn’t been profitable in years, said Mark Dupont, who oversees technology and marketing at Book World.

“There weren’t enough people buying books there to support the store, unfortunately,” Dupont said.

The Northbridge Mall Book World location will start having sales on regional books as its closing date approaches.  - Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

The Northbridge Mall Book World location will start having sales on regional books as its closing date approaches. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

The store has no plans on opening any additional stores in the area, Dupont said. Book World had to close a number of stores in the last couple years due to similar issues, he said.

The six employees at Book World in Albert Lea will be out of work with the company, he said. They all have jobs lined up, said Sharon Betz, manager of the store. She said she is sad that the store is closing.

“I spend some time grieving,” Betz said. “When God closes a door he opens a window. I’m just sad because I’ll miss it.”

She said the job has been a source of happiness for her.

“I make less money than I made for years, but I’m happier here than I have been at any other job,” she said. “It’s the love of books that has kept me here.”

The store opened in Albert Lea in November 2005. Book World has 46 stores in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa. Betz said regional books at Book World, in connection with the store closing, are currently 30 percent off.

While technology has hampered book store business, there are perks of going to bookstores rather than shopping online, said Theresa Schmidt, library services manager at Albert Lea Public Library.

Book World’s Northbridge Mall location would have been open for 10 years in November 2015. - Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Book World’s Northbridge Mall location would have been open for 10 years in November 2015. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

“You can go in with one idea and come out with another book,” Schmidt said. “Some of the books in the store you may never know you need until you get in there. You may lose out on that on a online retailer.”

She said personal relationships with booksellers can alert people to books coming out.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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