Get it while you can

As fall turns to winter, so comes the death of Wayne State’s favorite small bookstore.

After serving the WSU community for 65 years, Marwil Bookstore announced today that it will close up shop for good.

The shop is not accepting textbook orders for the Winter 2014 semester, and owner Brian Kramer hopes to make a clean break by the end of the calendar year.

The decision has been in the works for a good long time, said Kramer, who has run the shop for nearly 30 years.

“The bottom dropped out last fall, and it’s been getting worse ever since. It’s time to move on,” he said. “I’d love to stay, but look around. Things have changed.”

Marwil was opened in 1948 by Milton and Lenore Marwil. Its original location was on Woodward, but soon moved to Warren. In the early 70s, it moved to its current location at Cass and Woodward, Kramer said. His family bought it from the Marwils in 1983. It’s been a family operation as long as it’s been around.

Marwil Bookstore is a campus landmark – few students have not heard the name. If your parent is a WSU graduate, ask them what the name Marwil means to them. It saw the golden age of Motown, the civil rights movement and weathered the riots and their aftermath while many small businesses crumbled. After decades of service, the Internet was what finally brought Marwil down.

“Kids aren’t buying books. Books are expensive – they go online to buy them. There’s rentals, changing traffic patterns, Amazon,” Kramer said. “It just totally changed. People shop online — they don’t shop in stores.”

It’s the latest omen of the end of an era – the era of the small bookstore, or any bookstore, really (seen Borders Books around recently?) More and more, students turn to the Internet for their textbooks, crippling large booksellers and utterly maiming small operations.

And this latest sign that the times are changing really hits close to home.

“This is like a family,” Kramer said. “It’s tough. People have been here over 30 years. We thought we’d grow old together.”

Kramer notes that although they will not be taking textbook orders, their doors will stay open for the rest of the year for people to shop big sales and pay their respects to the historic bookstore.

“I wish people would stop in and say goodbye, or maybe look at something that’s a bargain,” Kramer said. “People still need their Blue Books and Scantrons.”

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