On Monday afternoon, Willie Siros, the owner of Adventures of Crime and Space Books, was waiting for the UPS man to pick up 30 boxes of books that needed to be returned to publishers. Everything was supposed to be out of the mystery and science fiction store by Sunday, March 31, but "it's been tough going for quite a while," Siros said, as he pointed out that the store still had about 6,000-8,000 books left after a liquidation sale rid him of nearly 35,000 titles. Often in bookstore closings, the landlord emerges as the heavy; not so here. Siros explained that although the store needed a minimum of $15,000 in sales a month to get by, it was only averaging about $10,000. Siros had turned in the rent late for the past six consecutive months, and the landlord voided the lease, which was on a month-by-month basis. "I never was the best at the promotional/marketing element, and we never quite found the right ... visibility," he said, adding that many of the store's customers were drawn to it by word of mouth or because they were eating in the area (the store was across from Ninfa's on West Sixth). And yet Siros and his staff were known for serving mystery lovers and science fiction fans cogently and with a knowing ease that their customers didn't find elsewhere. "I can't believe that the market for what we do isn't here," he said. Siros would like to reopen the store, but his first order of business is revamping the Web site (www.crimeandspace.com) so that customers can use their credit cards to purchase books. "I think that we're one of the things that help make Austin weird, that makes Austin Austin ... that there be odd little places to buy things."
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