Browsing the titles on the shelves in a book store is something every lover of literature enjoys doing.
With the local closings of Trans Allegheny Books in 2010, Borders in 2011 and Sugden's earlier this year, book stores in the area have become harder to find. With so few left in Marietta and surrounding areas, Barking Dog Books and Art in Marietta is one of the last havens for all kinds of book genres and titles.
But the last book haven in Marietta is facing an uncertain future. Marianne and Scot Monaghan, owners of Barking Dog, have decided to sell the store.
AMANDA NICHOLSON The Marietta Times
Jean Pickering, 80, of Williamstown, picks up a book order with her dog at Barking Dog Books and Art Tuesda
The business began online before becoming a bricks and mortar store.
"We've been in business in retail as an open shop for 10 years," Scot said. "We thought we saw an opportunity for a good used book store in the area. We think that's more true now than it was then."
"Trans Allegheny has closed," Scot said. "Borders has come and gone. Sugden's has closed."
Sugden's, Marietta, Feb. 9, 2013.
Borders, Vienna, Sept. 12, 2011.
Trans Allegheny Books, Parkersburg, Oct. 17, 2010.
Walden Books, Vienna, Oct. 21, 2006.
Mother O'Riley's, Marietta, Dec. 24, 2003.
Book stores still open for business
Barking Dog Books and Art, 212 Putnam St., Marietta.
Paperback Palace, 515 28th St., Vienna.
J&M's Used Bookstore, 1215 Blizzard Drive, Parkersburg.
To learn more
If interested in purchasing Barking Dog Books and Art, direct queries to:
376-0653 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing of book stores has been a trend across the nation, attributed mainly to online sales of books and the use of ebooks. In 2012, 44 percent of spending by consumers on books was done online, according to a report from Bowker.
Barking Dog has a variety of used books from sections including children, young adult, military, local history and fiction, which includes science fiction, mysteries and fantasy.
"We have 15,000 different books in the store," Scot said. "They're mostly used but we have continued to add more 'new' books."
What started out as a fun book store turned into a serious book store, the couple said.
"We started as the quirky, unusual bookstore," Marianne said. "But we saw a real need (for other books). We've worked hard to grow the store and meet our readers' needs."
"We are the community bookstore right now," Scot added. "We have also picked up some people from Parkersburg and Williamstown."
With new customers and closing book stores around the area, demand for book buying has increased. Scott added that the business is very prosperous.
"The demand for ordering books has increased," he said. "It's more than twice of what it used to be. It has placed a lot of demand on us personally."
"We are doing well," he said. "We are profitable...We do have a following and reputation we are proud of."
Despite being profitable, Scot said he and Marianne are ready to hand over the reins to someone capable.
"We'd like to scale back to do our own activities," Scot said. "We want to find someone to keep it going for the greater good. We also want to continue to be involved with books."
Scot said that they would probably continue the online part of the business even upon selling the store. The Monaghans also have book hobbies that will keep them busy.
Scot likes to repair old books with broken binding and Marianne enjoys making crafts out of book parts, including wreaths made from book pages and creating small journals.
If the business ultimately doesn't remain a book store after its sale, local residents say it will be a loss for the community.
Donna Tebay, 55, of Marietta, said she isn't a big reader, but having a book store in the area is important.
"If I were an avid reader, I'd like to know that it's there and that I can go in and pick up a book," she said.
Marietta resident Mary Morris, 83, said she hopes the book store continues after the Monaghans sell it.
"I think it would be a loss if it didn't," she said. "It's certainly a pretty addition to Putnam Street. They always have a nice display. I certainly have enjoyed browsing the shelves. It has a good feeling. It's relaxing."
Reno resident Stacy Frederick, 23, said a book store is so much better than online shopping.
"I certainly hope they are able to find a buyer that will keep the business a book store, because of the fact that there are very few book stores in the area," she said. "Yes, it's quick and simple to order a book online, but there is not a better feeling than going into a book store, smelling all of the old books and browsing around."
The Monaghans said they are hoping the right buyer comes along soon.
"We're not locking ourselves into any one course of action," Marianne said.
"We're really just looking for successors," Scot said. "We intend to be patient about it."
"But we won't wait forever," Marianne added.