Family Owned Bookstore Struggles to Stay Open Thanks to E-Readers 10/8/12
CBS 7 Reporter
October 8, 2012
Midland, TX -A Midland bookstore is struggling to stay afloat and it's all because of modern technology.
Miz B's Books in Midland has been around for nearly 50 years. But the popularity of the e-reader could soon put them out of business. The owner says in the mean time she is pulling out all the stops.
You might call Faye Wagner a bookworm
"I was a little ole cotton farmers daughter and I always wanted to be somewhere else and go somewhere else and I escaped into reading when I was very, very young,” explains Wagner. “I've been reading ever since."
For nearly 40 years she's been finding her books at Miz B's.
"I feel like I’m at home when I’m here,” Wagner says. “Its one of the most unique experiences."
Behind the counter and a mound of books sits the owner.
"I'm a murder mystery type girl," says Alicia Olivieri, the 26 year old that customers call "little Miz B" after she bought the store from her grandmother this summer.
"It’s like grandma’s house that's the best way I can explain it,” she says. “This was her baby, it started as 3 shelves of books."
3 shelves turned into much more.
"This is a maze! Its just a maze, you have to know where you're going!" Wagner says, walking us through the store.
It’s a maze of nearly 2.5 million books.
"She put everything into this and it shows and I’m just thankful that she did," Olivieri says.
But business isn't what it used to be thanks to the popularity of the e-reader.
"We do have a lot of competition these days. It’s about a $10,000 decrease every year,” she claims. “We've fallen off considerably almost to the point where were thinking of closing. It is hard. It’s a struggle everyday."
But Olivieri says the store is surviving on one thing an e-reader can never provide: the personal touch.
"Do you want anything to drink?" she asks a customer.
And everyday Olivieri keeps in mind one piece of advice from Miz B herself.
"To smile a lot, even when you're not happy just smile."
There is at least one customer she can always count on
"I'll be coming here until I can no longer get in my car start it and drive over here I guess,” Wagner says. “I love coming here, they've always been so nice to me."
It might just be Olivieri’s smile that keeps customers coming back in search of a happy ending.
The store was set to close in January but Olivieri says she did receive a $500 donation to keep them going until then.
You can find Miz B's at 2505 West Ohio Avenue in Midland.