A sign of the times

The Bookworm, after celebrating its 30th anniversary this summer, is phasing out DVD rentals.

“There’s probably people still renting them, but a lot of people are using Netflix. They can stream them. They can download them on their computers,” Joyce Bickford, store owner, said. “I saw it last winter, that it was coming. I still sell them, but I’m not going to rent them out anymore.”

Bickford has seen this trend with her own customers.

“Especially the younger ones, because they know how to do all that stuff on their computers,” she said. “I’ve done it for 15 years now, and now it’s time to move on to something else.”

Book sales, however, remain strong, and The Bookworm is now expanding its selection of used books.

“I thought with the Kindle, people would phase out books, but no. People still like their paperbacks and their hardbacks,” Bickford said. “The room I have for DVDs, I’m just moving books over there. And using the shelves I used for DVDs for books.”

She added, “I have lots of books. I couldn’t even tell you how many I have.”

In addition to books, The Bookworm offers merchandise, consignments and items from the now-closed Lund’s Used Furniture.

“Art Lund retired, so he brings in furniture in here to sell,” Bickford said.

For Bickford, reading is a lifelong pleasure.

“I’ve been reading ever since I was little. I started with fairy tales,” she said. “It’s relaxing. You can go to another world. It’s just calming to me. And I like the idea that you can learn so much in books.”

Bickford said loves being a book store owner.

“I feel very lucky that I’m doing something that I love,” she said. “Some days are harder than others and you get all kinds of different customers, and you’ve got to smile.”

Each day, Bickford remembers the words of her grandfather.

“He was in business, and he told me if you want to have your own business you have to have the three Ps: a good product, a good price and a good personality,” she said. “And you’ll do OK.”

Bickford has no regrets about no longer offering DVD rentals.

“It was getting to be a hassle, because you get people that would rent the movies and take them, and I have no way to get it back. Take them to small claims for an $8 movie,” she said. “It was fun, but now it’s gone.”

The decision, Bickford said, has not had a negative impact on The Bookworm.

“I haven’t really felt any change at all in my business, now that I’ve stopped renting movies,” she said. “None.”