Bodhi Tree Bookstore Is Closing: Bad News for Buddhists
By Gendy Alimurung
Bad news for Buddhists and others seeking enlightenment: the Bodhi Tree Bookstore is closing. Owners Phil Thompson and Stan Madson informed their staff last Wednesday that the cozy Melrose Avenue shop, a nationally renowned and much beloved spiritual center, will be shutting its doors in a year’s time.
After some eight months of discussion, Thompson and Madson decided to sell the property to a local business owner who leases space to several other nearby retailers. The Bodhi Tree opened in 1970. Land values in the area have risen dramatically since then. Meanwhile, the business of selling print books has been on a steady decline. For years, real estate agents had been circling the Bodhi Tree like vultures. In the end, selling the property became a much more profitable option than continuing to sell books.
Thompson and Madson started the bookstore when they were in their 30’s. They are now both in their early 70’s. They were aerospace engineers who left a life of science for one of contemplation and meditation.
“Twenty years ago we felt like it was an expanding situation,” says Madson. “We were concerned the store was getting too big. We had a staff of 100. Publishing was expanding. Spirituality was expanding. But what changed was that the market became widely dispersed.”
Books on Wicca and Astrology and Native American shamanism used to be tough to find. But now every Borders and Barnes & Noble carries a significant selection of religious, spiritual and New Age literature. And what can’t be bought at a bricks and mortar shop can undoubtedly be found online at Amazon. For cheap.