Ogden’s Bookateria reaches its final chapter after 44 years in business

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OGDEN, Utah -- After 44 years in business, a beloved bookstore in Ogden is closing its doors for good.

The Bookateria paperback book exchange has hit a wall in business, with the owner saying demand for the printed word is decreasing.

The shop has been around for decades, but the final chapter is coming to a close.

“It started in 1972, I was 11-years-old,” said Tracy Socwell, son of the shop’s owner. “I actually worked from that time on, over time, and still helped dad with the store and it has evolved, it has changed quite a bit.”

Clarence Socwell opened his trade-in bookstore with 2,500 books. Now, 44 years later, he's selling the 400,000 he's accumulated for a dollar apiece.

“Business is falling off because people are reading books on their e-books, and young people don’t read, they just play games,” Clarence Socwell said.

Bookateria first opened on Ogden's 28th Street, before it moved to its current location on Washington Boulevard.

But once the recession hit, more people turned to their e-books than ever. Clarence Socwell said it's his faithful customers who have kept the trade going.

“People walk in, and I call them by their first name, and they call me by my first name, and we chat about other things besides books,” Clarence Socwell said.

Now, Bookateria only has one month left to sell thousands of books.

“The sad part is if we aren’t able to sell them or liquidate them, we’re probably just going to have to recycle them,” Tracy Socwell said.

Tracy Socwell said he sees the appeal of a physical book as opposed to digital mediums.

“I have to have something tangible, I like the turn of the page,” he said.

And the customers agree.

“I think this is a really great place, and it’s sad to see that it’s going to be gone soon,” said Cheyenne, a patron of the store.

Clarence Socwell said he will miss the shop once it is closed.

“I’m going to miss getting up and coming here every day, but I’m 86 years old, and I need to rest, too,” he said.

2 comments

  • bob

    Sad. Educated people read. Uneducated people do not. That is the difference. It has nothing to so with “degrees”, or “graduation.” It has to do with READING. A lot.

    How is this country supposed to survive when the rate of educated people is in single digits? We’re becoming a nation of surplus labor, welfare cases and, at best, specialized drones.

  • Cody

    Use to come here when I was about 5-7 yrs old with my grandpa I’m 26 now. I remember coming into the store on 28th & just wandering i thought it was really cool like a maze quiet with all kinds of books with a very padded insulated sound. It’s very sad it will no longer be there anymore. You can’t ever regain something like that again. I think it made it special & unique because it was with my grandpa & he loved reading books. I will be buying a few books here in memory of my grandpa & to pay respects to this pioner bookstore and the owner for his dedication!

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