Letter: Missing Vail’s Verbatim already
Vail, CO Colorado
It is with great sorrow that I am writing this letter not only for me personally but also for the community of Vail. Recently, Robert Aikens announced that he can no longer afford to keep Verbatim, Vail’s only book store, open for business. He has put it on the market; however, if it fails to sell, Robert will be closing Verbatim’s doors.
Like many independent book stores, Verbatim has fallen victim to Amazon.com, chain book stores, and even the expanding retail of City Market and Safeway. He simply can’t compete with stores who can sell a book for less than what it costs him to buy the book wholesale. However, our loss as Vail residents is much greater than the savings of a select few bestsellers purchased at the grocery store. Historically, Vail has worked hard to establish itself as a community and a town, and not just a ski resort. Along with five-star hotels and superb restaurants, we have stores owned by people who know their product and are committed to servicing the community: A Secret Garden, Karats, Mountain Dog, and Verbatim, to name but a few. Any book lover who wanders into Verbatim will encounter an intimate space filled with an impressive collection of books, music, cards, and gifts. Personal book recommendations either by the staff or customers line the stacks, and if Robert is there, his Old English Sheep Dog Stella Blu can usually take care of anybody in need of a dog fix.
This is a book shopping experience unique to Verbatim and hence to the town of Vail ” one that can’t be found online or at the grocery store. In the last five years, Vail Village and Lionshead have and will continue to undergo many new construction projects. We have even given it a name: Vail’s New Dawn. What a pity that Vail’s New Dawn may not include a book store. If Vail’s future is more hotels and condos at the expense of the small retailer, then it seems to me that, sadly, we are indeed becoming more of a ski resort and less of a community.