The Village Bookshop in Linworth is closing after nearly 50 years, a victim of changing times, owner Gary Friedlinghaus said.

"The public's book-buying habits have changed," Friedlinghaus said. "That's basically the reason for going out of business. That, plus the number of suppliers have diminished."

The shop will close by the end of the summer after completing a going-out-of-business sale.

Friedlinghaus took over ownership of the shop, at 2424 W. Dublin-Granville Road, "a little over 37 years ago," he said.

"It was a small village bookshop when I bought it. But large independent bookstores with a large inventory are vanishing like the horse and buggy. My peers have vanished a long time ago.

"All that, coupled with the fact that -- sadly -- people don't read as much. More is the pity."

The store, which deals primarily in remainders and closeout books that are typically heavily marked down, by 50 to 90 percent, officially began its going-out-of-business sale June 3.

The store's building once was a church -- the original Linworth United Methodist Church -- and was converted to a bookstore in 1969.

Friedlinghaus, 77, was in the electronics business when he decided to change direction and buy the shop more than a decade after the building conversion.

"It was an opportunity to let other people expand their intellect, as I had always done," he said.

The shop was a family affair, with Friedlinghaus' wife and daughter pitching in.

"It is surprising how many people -- book-buying people -- would come (from out of town) to visit," he said. "I've really been happy about that."

Part of the shop's success was because of an active marketing campaign, he said.

"I started advertising on TV when Fritz Peerenboom had the Nite Owl show," which aired movies on WBNS (Channel 10) from 1974 to 1991, Friedlinghaus said.

"I remember him standing out on the front porch and giving the advertising message. It's hard to comprehend now, but Society Bank and I, we sponsored children's shows around Christmastime.

"Can you imagine that? That was in prime time. That will never be again. It's so different from the book world now, and the advertising world now."

The shop also "rode the renaissance in military books and military prints" that occurred in the 1980s, he said. "But that came to an end. People know us more as a bookstore, really."

The end of a long-standing independent shop is disappointing, but understandable, said Linda Kass, founder and owner of Gramercy Books, an independent bookstore that opened two years ago in Bexley.

"The whole industry is one that's evolving," Kass said. "There are a lot of challenges to a local operator, whether from Amazon or e-readers.

"Any small retail business needs to work pretty hard to be competitive and sustain its customer base. It's difficult, particularly in the book business. I'm sorry to see him go."

Friedlinghaus said he plans to post a sign the property is for sale.

tferan@dispatch.com

@timferan