Time to turn the page.
"We are closing at the end of April," Martha Jarred said. "That is our goal."
The Abilene Reporter-News reports Martha and her husband Kenneth are the owners of Henderson Book Store at No. 3 Ave. E. It's been a mainstay since 1975, when her father Arthur Henderson opened it in a building smaller than the storefront they now occupy on the square.
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Martha took it over in 1996 after her father suddenly died the year before.
"I was teaching, so I could only have the store open on Saturdays," she recalled. "I retired about nine years ago and that's when we went to three days a week."
The store is open noon-5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. For years, they've offered two-for-one trades on used books but stopped accepting them after announcing their closing.
"That was hard because I had several (customers) coming in from out of town who came prepared to trade and I just couldn't do it," she said.
At some point, you've always got to put your foot down. If you've been to Henderson Books, you know they don't suffer from a lack of inventory.
Mountainous book cases are surrounded by foothills of paperbacks stacked on the floor, while elsewhere in the store larger mounds of mostly paperbacks await sorting. The sheer weight of their numbers can feel overwhelming.
"It's really more organized than it looks," Martha assured. "It's arranged by genres and by author."
If you like books and tight places, then this is the store for you. Claustrophobic yet exhilarating, maneuvering a camera bag through the stacks inevitably resulted in several small avalanches.
How many books were in this place?
"A gajillion," Martha deadpanned. "Give or take."
Her customers come from all over the area. Some from Aspermont, some from Tuscola, some are truckers on the open road. All of them bring books to exchange for newer treasures.
"That's been my downfall, I have not been monitoring my inventory," Martha lamented. "When they came in, they came in with six bags.
"That's my fault, I should have been limiting it to two. I should have done that, looking back."
Well, why not?
"I don't know, I didn't want to be mean? If they come in, they've got books to trade," she said, a self-conscious laugh accompanied her answer. "I just want to be a helper, I guess. It gives them more credit, and so then they take more books."
She laughed again, thinking of the never-ending supply her two-for-one offer always brought in, but not really minding, either.
The beauty of a used bookstore over its corporate cousin in the mall is none of these books were ordered using a spreadsheet. The calculation of profit based upon market research never factored into their place on the shelves at Henderson's.
These books come with their own pedigree, an owner's personal testimony of either excellence or excrement. Here the next buyer is the judge, not an algorithm.
Saturdays have been their busiest days. But even so, there's still a lot of books that need to go out the door.
"I'm hoping someone will come in and say, `Let me rent a U-Haul and come take all of these books,"' Martha joked.
"I know where you can get a big U-Haul, cheap" Kenneth quipped. "It's got shelves already built in."
It's the piles that are the biggest question mark. A large one rises behind Martha at the register. Another defies the laws of physics toward the back of the store. Still others wait in a building next door.
Martha said she'd sort them the same way she always has, but the books don't always make it to their stacks if they're in poor shape.
"My husband loves to take them to the dumpster," she said, laughing. "He gets too happy when he's feeding the dumpster, it's what he loves to do."
But isn't closing at the end of April a little optimistic?
"That's kind of what I'm thinking," Kenneth mutters.
There's a lot of romance novels that need to go, for one thing.
"A lot of the little ladies that come, that's what they bring in and that's what they take back," Martha said. "The books that are going fastest are my Westerns."
She pointed to a shelf where the wall behind it actually shone through.
"So, there is hope," she offered.
An irony is that Martha taught elementary school students how to read, and sometimes a former student comes in for a recommendation. Or they bring their children.
In a far corner of the store, two girls were looking for something to fire their imaginations. Eighth-graders Annika Ridenour, 13, and Trinity Whorton, 14, are too young to have been taught by Martha, but that didn't keep them from their hunt.
"Mostly mythology," Trinity said of their search. "And Stephen King."
"I really like Stephen King because his writing has always been so good," Annika said. "It really inspires me to write better."
They were searching for King's "Dark Tower" series, but Trinity was also hoping for a more comprehensive book on Greek mythology, too.
"I prefer a bookstore because then you get to actually touch the book, look through the pages and see whether it's interesting or not before you pay for it," Annika said.
Nearby, Janet McCormick shopped with her daughter Lauren; they've been customers here for at least 20 years.
"She's the reader in the family," Janet said of her daughter. "She likes to come down here, find used books and bring them home to her brothers and sisters."
"The hunt, that makes it fun," Lauren agreed. "I was probably in elementary school when I first came here."
Her mother laughed, then explained the store's appeal.
"We like to go junkin'," she said. "So this is junkin' for books, I guess."