What will happen when Book People owner Ruth Erb ‘turns the page’

Posted at 10:50 PM, Dec 22, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. -- For anyone who appreciates the written word Book People is heaven on earth. The small store on Granite Avenue, off of Patterson Avenue in Richmond, has satisfied generations of customers looking for that perfect read.

Ruth Erb opened Book People 37 years ago.

She has an affinity for all things pulp, from fiction and non-fiction, to poetry and history. Book People is the anything but a big-box store.

Located in a cozy, former old home with tens of thousands of books stacked from floor to ceiling, readers can find just about any book on any topic with supreme customer service.

But after so many years, Ruth said it was time to turn the page and relinquish ownership of her book business.

She wanted to let her employees keep the tradition going, but for that to happen the potential new owners are looking to raise $50,000 for badly needed renovations.

They started a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign to keep the business open. Otherwise this could be the end of a nearly 40-year-old story of perseverance.

“Well, I am very grateful and surprised at the positive interest we have had. I find it difficult to ask for money," Ruth said.

David Shuman, Ruth's employee, said Ruth "is Book People. It's going to take four or five of us to fill her shoes. That is why it is the entire staff coming together to replace her. She is such an institution in this town. Everyone knows her. Everyone loves her. Her book knowledge is just legendary.”

Ruth may be retiring full-time but she is not walking away from Book People altogether. If the store remains open Ruth will work part-time.

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