Besides the crushing economy, Carpe Librum suddenly faced yet another new competitor: e-books and e-readers such as the Kindle and Nook, which have finally taken off after years of attempting to lure consumers away from printed books. According to the Association of American Publishers, for instance, e-book sales were $39 million for August, a 172 percent increase over August 2009 ($14.3 million); calendar year to date, sales grew 193 percent. Throw in big-box retailers like Target and Walmart with discounted bestsellers, and buying books has never been more convenient—a trend that’s been devastating to traditional, independent sellers who mostly stick to list prices in exchange for offering a more selective stock and helpful clerks.

Sorry to see Carpe Librum close — but I have to say, I get most of my books via Kindle now, and most of the rest via Amazon.