MATTOON -- Owner Diana Sullivan is preparing to close The Book Nook after 38 years in business, but still hopes to find an entrepreneur to take over this downtown shop.
The closing sale at The Book Nook, 1821 Broadway Ave., is scheduled to start on Monday and continue through April 30 as the shop begins selling off its inventory of more than 150,000 used books. The tall shelves that line the shop are filled with books, and other books fill more than 700 boxes stored off site.
Sullivan said she is closing The Book Nook so that she can focus on caring for a family member who has health issues. Sullivan said she founded her business in 1980 as a home supply resale shop on Lake Land Boulevard.
"It was a thrift shop and the books were just a sideline," Sullivan said of her first shop.
Sullivan said she found that she enjoyed working with selling used books more than furniture and other resale items, so the shop's focus soon shifted. Sullivan said she has been an avid reader ever since childhood and this love of reading material carried over to her work.
"I love the hunt for a unique, special or rare book," Sullivan said. "I love finding books for people that they are going to enjoy. I love sharing that with other people."
The book shop proprietor shared this love with her customers at six different locations over the years. Sullivan said her longest time at a location was from 1995 to 2009 at 1610 Broadway Ave., now home to Luigi's. Sullivan said she moved to her present location in 2009 with the help of landlord Keith Summers.
Sullivan said romance novels have always been popular, but trends have changed over the years from "bodice rippers" in historical settings to supernatural-themed tales of vampire love to demure Amish romances. She said mystery novels have been mainstays with readers. She said movie adaptations have often helped drive the sale of various history books and memoirs.
In addition, Sullivan said the only new books that she has stocked are copies of fiction and nonfiction books by local authors or on local topics. Many of these books are signed.
The Book Nook has developed many regular customers who have made visits to the shop part of their routine and a tradition that they have passed on to the next generation, Sullivan said.
"I have seen the grandchildren of some of the people who were among the first customers when I opened. They are making reading important to them and that is amazing," Sullivan said. "They are reading and they love it."
Once her time at The Book Nook ends, Sullivan said she will miss the structure of interacting with customers every day and the fun of hunting for books. Sullivan said she still hopes to find someone to keep the shop open. She said the shop has provided a local source for used books and has helped many local school children, college students and other readers find the books that they need.
"This shop has provided a huge community resource," Sullivan said.
The Book Nook is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday each week. More information is available by calling 217 234-2277 or visiting https://www.facebook.com/The-Book-Nook-120096298007669/.