Sally Oddi and Randy King are preparing to close the chapter of their lives that features Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers.

The bookstore at 3560 N. High St., which Oddi launched nearly four decades ago, is for sale, as is Selections, the school-business division of the operation.

King, who married Oddi in 1980, announced the sale last week.

"As one of the oldest continually operating children's bookstores in the country, Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers has served central Ohio children, parents, teachers and schools for over 36 years," he wrote. "Now it is time for owners Sally Oddi and Randy King to retire ...

"We have witnessed many generations of families share in the love and wonder of children's literature, and this store has connected us with many of our warmest friendships."

"I've done it for 37 years, so if I said I'm not going to be sad, it would not be believable," Oddi said in an interview. "It has been my life's work. Even the best of it can't do it forever."

"We're old," said King, 66. "That's about it. It's time to retire."

In the sale notice, King asked that potential buyers be both serious about taking over the business and that they have a "passion for children's literature."

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"We have some who are interested already," King said. "I think some of those have potential. There are challenges in running any small business. There are some people who might want to take it on. We'll just have to wait and see."

Oddi expressed the hope that a potential buyer will want to keep Cover to Cover much as it has been in the time she and King owned it.

"I think that there has been a lot of goodwill that has developed over the years," she said. "The store has been an important part of the community, but when any business owner decides to move on, you have to understand you don't have control."

"We'll spend more time with each other, travel -- what are the other cliches about retiring? -- eat exotic foods, enjoy resting and relaxing -- not work," King said.