Thursday, November 02, 2006

Booklein Book Store in Summit Mall

Akron, Ohio - circa 1970s

Booklein Reading Center book store, in Summit Mall during the 1970s. I like the design here. Very Earthy and rustic looking. Makes me think of Pier 1 Imports. And Summit Mall is one I haven't blogged yet, btw, so it's a new one to add to the archive.

Anyway, I've never heard of Booklein stores. Anyone know if they're still around (I do see a few passing mentions online)? Here's the postcard caption:
"When you are in Akron, Ohio stay at the beautiful Hilton Inn West, 3180 West Market Street, and for your reading pleasure visit BOOKLEIN READING CENTER across the street in the center of Summit Mall."
Mall history: 1965 - present
Developer: Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. (DeBartolo Corporation)
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Info from Wikipedia
Previous entries: none


Blogger Cora said...

I've never heard of the store, but I'd certainly love to browse it. But then, I've always been a sucker for bookstores.

Thu Nov 02, 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

What happened to bookstores in the mall? I used to work at a B Dalton. We were always busy. Now, there isn't a bookstore in the mall at all. Is Barnes & Noble that popular? Maybe it's moved online.

Thu Nov 02, 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Bobby said...

I don't think in-mall bookstores are dead yet. Many malls have a Borders or Barnes & Noble in them, and I'm still seeing plenty of Waldenbooks/Borders Express locations. My local mall, Alpena Mall, has hung onto its tiny Waldenbooks (read: size of a GNC) since day one, and that store seems to be doing well. Granted, it's the only bookstore within ~50 miles...

Thu Nov 02, 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

That's a great store. Never heard of Booklein before.

You still see Waldenbooks and B. Dalton (substantially more of the former than the latter) but usually in malls or markets too small for Borders or Barnes & Noble.

Thu Nov 02, 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger VeRTiGo91 said...

I remember there was a store VERY similar to this at the Valley mall in Hagerstown, MD. I think it was called Books & Things, but had the crate feel to them. But I recall signs asking that you not read the magazines until after you purchased them. I did this for years with pro wrestling magazines! Can't read them? No wonder they are no more!

Thu Nov 02, 04:00:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

Most books at Walden, Borders, B&N, etc are way overpriced in my opinion. Usually I buy them used rather than new. This could be a factor of the demise of bookstores in malls.

With that said, I can just smell the pulp fiction in this joint and I echo Cora's sentiment about wanting to be able to browse.

Fri Nov 03, 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

Why are Americans always complaining about the prices of books? Compared to what I pay for imported paperbacks (the German ones aren't that much cheaper, either), US prices are positively civil.

Anyway, for me the presence of a bookstore with a decent selection is an important factor in how I rate a mall.

Fri Nov 03, 11:14:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

As an American who complains about the prices of books I didn't used to. I was actually content once upon a time with prices at Waldenbooks and the like. In those days I just couldn't wait to buy any book no matter the price. Then I discovered the thrift store and well, I never went back to paying full price for a book especially when there are always outlets that are cheaper. I have saved lots of money and that is why I bitch about the prices everytime I set foot in Borders.

Also I work in a library and I have a friend that repairs torn parts of some of our collection and if only some people saw how cheaply made some of these books are you would see immediately that they are not worth the value charged. At least that's the way she and I see it.

Sat Nov 04, 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

The quality of US paperbacks tends to be bad, that's why I go for British editions whenever possible. Plus, British cover design is usually nicer.

In Germany, it does not matter where you buy your books, discount store, department store, Amazon or dedicated bookshop, because we have something called the "book price binding system", which forces all merchants to sell a book at a set price and does not allow any discounts on books (I can't even use department store discount cards on books). Which really sucks for the customer, but helps keeping independent bookshops in business and supposedly promotes the variety of literature on offer.

Sat Nov 04, 10:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its nice to see a close-up of an old store. Anybody heard of an old mall novelty store that was in the florida malls called "Barefoot Mailman", it was like Spencers Gifts but much better and much bigger.

Mon Nov 06, 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Sobieniak said...

I miss the days when it seemed like every mall in Toledo had at least a B. Dalton or Waldenbooks in them. Nowadays we just have a Borders inside Westfield Franklin Park and that's it. There used to be the one I LOVED going to before Borders bought them out, "Thackeray's", that existed at the currently-redeveloped Westgate Shopping Center. It was the only place I could go to in ordering a paritcular book without feeling too much a geek doing so. :-)

Tue Nov 07, 01:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Rolling Acres said...

I think they were local to the Akron area. From stuff I've seen, I *think* they ran some stores in local malls (like Rolling Acres and Summit) and I believe they ran a bookstore near the University of Akron. I'm not 100% on it. For instance, the Booklein name turns up with the same phone number as Churchhill News & Tobacco, another book/magazine spot at Rolling Acres.

Sun Nov 12, 03:40:00 PM  
Anonymous MWorrell said...

My father had a store in Summit Mall when I was a kid in the late seventies("Helter Skelter"... a headshop, believe it or not). I spent a LOT of time hanging out in that little kiosk reading magazines and comic books while he worked and I ran all over the mall all day in the summer. It was much more of a newsstand than a bookstore. They did have a much larger storefront location on Exchange Street near Akron U. I bought the first Kiss comic book there.

Fri Jul 20, 05:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Booklein was an amalgamation of the words Book and Klein, from the George R. Klein News Company, Cleveland's largest newspaper and magazine distributor. Locations included the Arcade on Euclid Ave in Cleveland, Summit Mall in Fairlawn, Randall Park in North Randall, and the Halle building on Euclid Ave as well. It offered periodicals and special-run paperback glossy books only, with legit news up front and adult selections in the back.

Sat Feb 23, 10:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Booklein in Randal Mall was apparently different than the ones described by Scott above. When I was a kid we used to go to the Booklein at Randall Mall and head straight for the back of the store where the "special interest" magazines were. We'd pretend to be going for sports 'zines so that we could walk past the adult rack in the middle of the store on our way (hoping to catch a glimpse of side-bewb or something on the way). That was a great store... all I remember is more magazines than I ever knew existed and wondering what happened to all the unsold copies.

Mon Jun 02, 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Derf Backderf said...

There's still a Booklein in the Halle Building. Seems to mostly sell drinks and snacks. Not much of a newsstand (what is anymore?).

That Summit Mall Booklein was around until the late 80s, in the center of the mall. It was cleared out during a re-design, never to return. The Randal Park Booklein, which wasn't a stand-alone store, just a typical one along a side hall, lasted until the late 90s.

During its Seventies heyday, the Summit Mall Booklein it carried magazines, paperbacks and newspapers. No comic books, which was a major flaw, as far as I was concerned, but a few comic magazines like the Warren books (Creepy, Vampirella, etc) and Heavy Metal. In fact, I bought #1 of the latter there. It was where I picked up my National Lampoon every month, too. It had a nice selection of sci-fi paperbacks and lots of cheesy romance. And a rack of classier porn like Playboy and Oui.

Sat Apr 06, 09:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Randall Park Mall store was famous for it huge selection of porn magazines. Nothing creepier than a bunch of old men looking at spank magazines. I remember they had a sign that said 15 minute time limit for browsing. And they had a black lady working there that would let you know when your time was up!

Thu May 08, 02:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sister and i would take the metro bus from st v to mall and wait for our mom to get us from bath. Whoever was working at helter skelter was always very nice and we would always chat em up and laugh at the crazy stiff there...good memories

Sun Dec 14, 08:02:00 AM  

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