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Fort Madison's Only Bookstore For Sale

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Jason Parrott
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TSPR
Owner Bonnie Howard helps a customer check out at The BookMark as husband Mike looks on. Bonnie says The Bookmark comes with a very loyal customer base

The owners of The Bookmark are ready to move on to the next phase in their lives. So they are looking for a buyer who will keep their "dream" open for years to come.

Owners Bonnie and Mike Howard opened The Bookmark in May 1994. Bonnie said it was something she always wanted to do.

“I have always been an avid reader, and there was a bookstore across the street and I worked there for a time,” said Howard. “[It] closed and so we talked about it and decided we would take the leap -- and we did.”

The leap has required quite a commitment from the pair, with at least one of them working at the store most of their time. Bonnie said that’s why she and her husband started talking again last year about the future of the store.

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Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
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TSPR
Bonnie and Mike Howard hope to sell The Bookmark to someone who will keep it open as a bookstore.

She said it was tough, but they decided to start looking for a new owner.

“We would really like to sell this store to someone who could take it to the next generation,” said Howard. “Maybe they could sell eBooks, put in some new things. It’s the time in our life we want to step back and start enjoying traveling, we have a grandson, you know, taking it a little easier.”

The building at the corner of 8th Street & Avenue G also houses a hair salon and a gift store. Bonnie Howard said that’s nice because she was never alone while she was at work.

But because she rents the space, all that's for sale is the inventory -- including books, magazines, calendars, bookmarks, puzzles, and board-games.

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Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
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TSPR
The Bookmark is filled with books, calendars, bookmarks, collectible figurines, magazines, puzzles and more.

  Bonnie Howard said there has been some interest in the store, adding that they are not in a rush if it means finding someone who will keep the bookstore alive. She said while technology seems to be leading people away from physical copies of books, she is confident they are here to stay.

“Technology is great, but not everybody wants a device,” said Howard. “A lot of people still want paper. I still want paper.  So that’s what kind of keeps us going.”

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.