Michael's Books is closing after more than 30 years

After 32 years of selling books downtown, Michael Elmer will close his book store at the end of the year.

Michael’s Books, at 109 Grand Avenue, has a huge collection that includes rare and out-of-print books. Elmer announced on the shop’s Facebook page that his wife got a job in Vancouver, Washington, and they plan to move during the next few months. Dec. 31 will be the store’s last day.

Elmer wanted to announce the closure as early as possible to allow his customers time to use any store credit they may have, he said in a phone interview.

“I didn’t want people to show up one day and have my doors boarded,” he said. “That’s out of respect for my customers and community.”

The transition period will also give him time to sell inventory.

“Books are wonderful, valuable things and I don’t want to just put them in a dumpster,” he said.

Elmer opened the store in 1983 after moving from Portland, Oregon, where he worked at Powells Books. He has attended rare book schools and workshops, and exhibited in rare book fairs throughout his career, according to the store’s website.

Elmer is exploring options for staying in the book business, possibly in a new location or online, he said.

“I’m not quitting the book business,” he said. “I love the book business and it’s been my life.”

Oliver Lazenby, associate editor of The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or olazenby@bbjtoday.com

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