by Jeanie Riess
McKeown's Books and Difficult Music will close its Tchoupitoulas Street store at the end of this month.
Maggie McKeown, who opened the used book shop in 2005, says the business was edging toward a financial cliff. "I think all small businesses have had difficulty staying in business," she said over the phone. "It just feels like things are a little worse now. It's different for a brick and mortar store in the age of online."
Looking back over the past nine years, McKeown says she's most thankful to the people who crossed the shop's threshold every day. "I saw the cream of the crop: people who love to read," she said. "People who love to talk about books. That's what I'll miss. I've always loved books, but I didn't realize before I opened the store how important it is to be able to talk about them with other people."
McKeown's is the second used bookshop to close in the past month, following on the heels of Maple Street Book Shop's used store, which closed mid-December. Still McKeown has faith in the future of bookstores, old and new. "They're going to remain," she said.
Until the end of the month, McKeown's entire inventory will be 50 percent off.
"I have no regrets," she added. "I have enjoyed every minute of it. I want (my customers) to keep buying books and keep supporting local bookstores, and who knows? Maybe I'll come up with some brilliant plan for how to come back one day."