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Event urges word lovers to go buy the book

Kallie the cat gets a kiss from Nan Fowler, owner of Nan’s Pre-Owned Books in Grover Beach. Kallie is known as the mascot of the bookstore, which has become a South County fixture.
Kallie the cat gets a kiss from Nan Fowler, owner of Nan’s Pre-Owned Books in Grover Beach. Kallie is known as the mascot of the bookstore, which has become a South County fixture. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The past decade has not been kind to bookstores, new or used, what with the recession and such technological advances as the Amazon Kindle e-reader. But bookstores still remain, and they are, in many people’s eyes, a key part of American society.

Those who own bookstores are taking steps to keep them relevant and in the public eye, and as part of that, some will be celebrating “Save the Bookstores Day 2012” on Saturday.

One of those participating locally in the second annual national event is Nan Fowler, owner of Nan’s Pre-Owned Books in Grover Beach. Fowler’s used book emporium at 1328 W. Grand Ave. is a South County fixture.

Fowler will be offering discounts along with coffee and cookies from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

At Nan’s, in addition to in-store discounts, there will be games such as an “alphabet blitz,” in which a different letter of the alphabet is picked each hour and every book by an author whose last name starts with that letter gets a 10 percent discount.

Fowler thinks other stores might be participating as well.

“We just need to remind people that we’re there, and a viable part of the community,” Fowler said.

She lamented the slow but steady disappearance of bookstores.

“Look how many we’ve lost” she said, even in San Luis Obispo County. Secondhand stores such as Leon’s in San Luis Obispo are gone, and chains like Borders and Waldenbooks have disappeared.

Fowler extolled used bookstores in particular as unique places where a person can buy a book for half price or less and where the barter system still exists. At her store, for example, customers can get credit for books they’ve brought in and apply that credit to the purchase of other books.

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