Bookstore News: Rivendell Books to Merge with Bear Pond Books

If you visit Montpelier, you’ll see something odd: FOR RENT Signs on the windows of Rivendell Books, one of the long-running used bookstores in Montpelier. According to their website, Rivendell Books is set to merge operations with Bear Pond Books later this spring. The move comes as small bookstores are facing increased pressure from their online counterparts, and the stores say that this will help both businesses: it’ll bring both under one roof, and will provide Bear Pond Books with a used book section.

From their press release:

Rivendell and Bear Pond, located near each other on Montpelier’s Main Street, have been popular destinations for readers and authors for more than a generation. As Claire Benedict, co-owner of Bear Pond Books, notes “Vermont is a great place to have a book store, we’re a state full of readers, writers, and people who support locally owned businesses. . . but the business of bookselling is changing. We needed to make decisions that ensure we can continue to have a strong independent bookstore presence in downtown Montpelier. In this case, that means being able to offer more choice in one location.”

The addition of Rivendell’s inventory to Bear Pond Books’ offerings will dramatically expand choices for customers, Benedict says. “That really is the main change Bear Pond customers will see – more choices, particularly for used, out of print, and harder to find books.”

She expects minimal disruption for shoppers as the transition happens this March. There will be some changes to the in-store layout, a redesign project that she notes fits in well with the upgrades already planned for the second floor Children’s Room using a recently-awarded grant from James Patterson. Both should be complete at the same time.

Read the full press release here.

Rivendell has had a rough couple of years. They briefly opened and then closed down a satellite location in the Berlin Mall – the closure due to a drop in foot traffic as Walmart expanded their location. The small store struggled for sales, even as it occupied the former Walden Books location. It’s a shame to see another bookstore closing: like Bear Pond, Rivendell had a unique character, and I’ll miss browsing its shelves.