The near-end of the bookstore era in south Orange County

After 18 years of business, the independent bookstore will close their doors on July 20. (Andrea Clemett/Lariat)

After 18 years of business, the independent bookstore will close their doors on July 20. (Andrea Clemett/Lariat)

Paperback books replaced by devices 

Mathom House Books, a new and used bookstore in San Clemente, fed the minds of readers for 18 years and penned their final “el fin” to customers on July 20. The owner shared the heightened rise in Amazon buying and Kindle reading forces yet another book store closure.

Chain and independent bookstores in the south Orange County community exist in dwindling numbers. Only three operate south of Lake Forest, Laguna Beach Books, a contemporary bookstore on coast highway, Barnes and Noble in Aliso viejo and Beach Town Used Books in San Clemente.

“Our regular customers reacted sadly and some were frantic to save the store by proposing car wash sales to keep the doors open,” said Bill Anderson, owner of Mathom House. “After the final close-out sales in the next weeks our plan is to redistribute the books to the other trade book store in San Clemente, an independent store in Los Angeles and a pediatric physician who plans to assist less fortunate.”

While the Mission Viejo Library remains busy carrying a wide selection of fiction, non-fiction, young adult, kids and periodicals. By being open every day, the staff said they noticed filled tables of people studying, some working on computers to others reading quietly. The library staff strives to keep enough copies of books in circulation in order to ensure that lengthy waitlist periods don’t exceed longer than one month.

“We have recorded that our circulation statistics have risen in the past years,” said Jeff Price, Mission Viejo reference librarian. “Our library always prided ourselves in carrying contemporary books on the best sellers lists as well the most popular. We hope this facility remains a main book establishment for reading.”

Anderson, owner of Mathom for ten years, indicated that many customers in recent years traded in their final set of hard copy books due to the replacement of a Kindle or digital reading devices. He adds that the most vibrant section with the highest turnover remained the teens and kids book selections.

“If I could do it again my focus would be teens and kids,” Anderson said. “I feel a successful store would need the community involvement by incorporating events rather than solely on a commerce level.”

Since the influx of devices that individuals use to read, BCC News reports that the emitting LED lighting can cause a disruption in sleep patterns. With the light sensitivity, such as a blue light wavelength may alter one’s circadian clock and the time of the melation release for sleepiness. The devices that release these types of wavelengths found as the Kindle Fire, smartphones, e-readers or tablets affect teens’ sleep patterns the most since they wake up later by nature. While they these devices may be convenient, however, they do pose health concerns.

“I used to read fantasy fiction books in hard copy when I was young,” said Sean Cahillane, 19, history major. “Then I eventually transitioned onto a Kindle to read on and used it for school reading as well.”

Readers who prefer printed books can demonstrate sustainability by utilizing a buy and trade program with Beach Town Books or by donating to a nearby library. Most libraries like Mission Viejo also sell used books periodically, further assisting in recycling reading material.