On the road to Ithaca, a bittersweet sight for book lovers

The exterior of Phoenix Books, which closed last year after 30 years selling used books in Freeville, NY, outside Ithaca. There are free books still on the porch.

The exterior of Phoenix Books, which closed last year after 30 years selling used books in Freeville, NY, near Ithaca.

Phoenix Books outside Ithaca, NY, closed its doors more than a year ago, but the old barn still gets visitors, including some unaware it’s out of business.

The store sold used books for 30 years, but apparently couldn’t keep up with reading habits and the pace of the digital world. (Many web sites still list the Phoenix as open, with a phone number and operating hours. Cruel.).

As a parting gift, the owner left hundreds of free books on the front porch. A year later, there are still plenty of freebies; customers have shown their appreciation with hand-written notes.

No longer can you go inside the Phoenix to experience the creaky ambience of the barn and fully appreciate the feel and smell of used books. But you can stop by, leave a note and do what the sign says.

FreeBooksPhoenixSignPhoenixShelvesBookPrices2Phoenixnote

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About Jim McKeever

Observer, writer, father, runner based in Central New York.
This entry was posted in books, Irish Investigations and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to On the road to Ithaca, a bittersweet sight for book lovers

  1. Thanks for this story, Jim. I live in an RV now, currently in Florida and really miss central NY’s people, if not it’s climate. Your writing always brings me back.

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  2. chmjr2 says:

    You are very lucky in Syracuse to have three (that I know of) used book stores. We have none in Utica. Sometimes when I am dreaming I wish I owned a used book store, but then I wake up.

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  3. ksbeth says:

    so sad that they had to close, and what a wonderful legacy

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  4. Sometimes the modern world ruins good things Jim. ❤
    Diana xo

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  5. Such expressive picture, this sad story is about new books too.

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  6. I would love to visit there Jim. I’m glad it still exists, at least in it’s legacy form.

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  7. A bit sad,when I go into a book store I am in heaven, this one looked like it had plenty of character Jim.

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  8. cat9984 says:

    I hate that. We lost two local bookstores when Borders moved in. Of course, Borders went bankrupt so now there is nothing local. (I hear Walmart has done that with small grocers in a few places too.)

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