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This story was updated at 5:36 p.m. on Thursday, April 29, 2021, with more information.

The Books-A-Million store in Hixson, in another plot twist over its future, is once again slated to close, the store manager said Thursday.

The exact date of the closing isn't known yet, but the bookstore on Highway 153 has put everything on sale at 20% off, said store manager Moon McCroskey.

She said about 16 employees now work at the site which occupies part of a strip center at 5230 Highway 153.

Last July, the store that has operated at the location for more than 25 years was set to shut down, according to the Birmingham-based company.

But then in August, an official for Books-A-Million said it would stay open after the company reached a new lease agreement for the site.

McCroskey said she didn't know why the store is scheduled to close this time. The company's corporate office did not return phone calls.

Bookstore patron Curt Johnson of Soddy-Daisy said outside the unit on Thursday that he'll miss it. When he has a couple of days off from work each week, he'll drop by one of those days, he said.

"I'm not a Kindle or e-book kind of guy," Johnson said, adding that he likes to open and close a book in his hands.

He said he's a longtime customer of the store, at least for 10 years, and he displayed a Books-A-Million club card he had so long that most of the printing on it had faded into white.

While he didn't buy anything on Thursday, he said it's "nice to go and be able to see what's there."

Glenda Baucom of Hixson said she, too, shops at the bookstore, which has a large "store closing" sign stripped across the front of the building.

"I'm really sorry to see it close," she said. At the same time, Baucom said she has begun ordering a lot of books online.

Last July when the first closing was announced, a company official said sales were "good" at the store, but it got caught up in a review of the book seller's real estate portfolio.

"We have to make tough decisions. This was one," said Melanie Smith, the company's vice president of marketing, last year.

In August, when the store received a reprieve, she said the venture had "continued to perform."

For decades, the small shopping center was anchored by Books-A-Million and Toys 'R' Us. The Toys 'R' Us store closed in 2015 after 20 years at the site. It was replaced by discount clothing retailer Bargain Hunt in 2016.

Over the past decade and a half, bookstores have increasingly come under pressure from internet sales and some major chains have closed down. With the coronavirus outbreak last year, many independent bookstores had to temporarily shutter their doors.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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