Book lovers peeved by change at Camp Foster PX
September 6, 2006
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Within smelling distance of warm, gooey cinnamon rolls for sale nearby, a book lover could wander the aisles and peruse new titles or plop down with their kid in the children’s section and flip through fairy tales in a store dedicated almost entirely to books.
But since the Army and Air Force Exchange Service replaced the Camp Foster Bookmark with an outdoor living store this summer, those bookshelves have been replaced by rows of golf clubs and grills.
And some folks are not pleased.
“It’s the worst mistake they’ve ever made,” Master Sgt. Jorge Ramos of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma said without hesitation as he shopped for books in their new location — inside the post exchange by the electronics and the kitchen supplies.
“The atmosphere over there (in the Bookmark) was awesome.”
Master Sgt. Donovan Potter, an Army and Air Force Exchange Service spokesman, said the decision to replace the Bookmark with a store for outdoor goods, toys and sports equipment was made in response to customer demand.
“There is a little bit less space for books and unfortunately we did lose the homey atmosphere, but it’s a better use of space,” he said.
While the number of books and magazines out on the floor at any one time has decreased, the inventory is the same, he added.
Many shoppers, though, said they just aren’t happy with the new setup.
“They’re in the center of everything,” said Danesha Little, a Camp Foster supply technician. “I’d rather have a more quiet place.”
Ramos’ wife, Yolanda, wrinkled her nose at the cramped aisles of books in the exchange and said she preferred the old store where she could sit down with her son in the children’s section.
“My wife and I were talking about this the other day,” said contractor Alan English.
“We don’t think it makes any sense.”
English has been on the island for nine years and said he remembers when AAFES moved the electronics into the PX to open the Bookmark.
“It was what everyone was waiting for,” he said. “A nice, open book store.”