The Final Chapter

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You didn't need to be a bookworm to come to mother O-Riley's bookstore in downtown Marietta. Being a conversationalist would do quite nicely, and owner Elin Jones watched a lot of people come in and change right before her eyes.

"I've watched children grow up," says Jones, "and have children of their own and bring them here, and many of them have come to say goodbye."

While Jones intends to retire, she admits changes in the way books and everything else is sold, has played a role as well.

"Amazon took 20 of all independent book sales when they opened," she says, "and have been commanding the market ever since, and I believe Wal-Mart affects it greatly as well. There's an ambience in book stores that you won't get elsewhere."

In these days when browsing means surfing the internet, there's something to be said for just coming in and looking at the merchandise, and that's something that will be lost when this businesses closes its doors for good.

"Elin had the most current books available," says regular customer Jane Riggs, "but it was just fun to come and chat with her. Even if I didn't buy anything, it was an enjoyable experience."

The mid-Ohio valley still does have its share of independent book retailers. Among them are trans-Allegheny books in Parkersburg, and another Marietta store, Sugden's. The bad news is that, like mother O-Riley's, they might not last forever.

Jones tells us she plans to spend her free time traveling, working on her home and garden, and, no doubt, reading.