Arthur Miller once wrote: Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.
The right regrets. What does that even mean? Ask Gary Friedlinghaus who has owned the Village Bookshop in Linworth the last 36 years.
“See that’s why I’m 77,” he joked. “That’s why I have gray hair.”
When he and his wife, Carol, opened up shop all those years ago, it was to provide high-quality, new books at a discounted price. At one point, he says four million books sat on his shelves. All of them were 60-90 percent off.
Today there aren’t quite as many, he says, with a modest 800,000.
He says through the years Village Bookshop has had quite the collection. Of books, sure, but also customers.
“I love this bookstore,” Judy Hoffman said. “For so many reasons.”
Hoffman is one of those customers. She’s been browsing the selections for a few years.
“I’ve been browsing longer than the present owners have owned it,” she said. “So, that’s more than 35 years.”
That’s what makes it all the more difficult to let go.
“It’s breaking my heart,” she said.
You’re probably wondering “If the store is selling books at such a discount, how does it make money?” You wouldn’t be alone in that thought.
“You know, it’s funny you should ask that,” Friedlinghaus said. “These past couple years, I wondered that myself.”
Friedlinghaus calls the business a gift to the city for all these years. But with costs and more readers turning to online for their material he says it’s time to close the doors.
“It’s time for change,” he said. “I like to say that I’m making a judicious retreat from a business that has defined my life.”
One more thought on regrets; this one from author Jose Saramago.
“If I’m sincere, today, what does it matter if I regret it tomorrow?”
An adage Friedlinghaus has expressed for the last 36 years.
Friedlinghaus says starting Sunday, June 3, all books at Village Bookshop will be having an even bigger discount. He says from then until the end of August, books will be an additional 25-50 percent off.
The building will also be going up for sale June 3, according to Friedlinghaus.
Village Bookshop is located at 2424 W Dublin Granville Road in Columbus.