After 33 years, Karen and Walter High are ready to turn the page to the next chapter of their lives. The two will retire at the end of the year, closing their beloved 2nd Edition Book Sellers.
2nd Edition has been part of the RDU family since 1984, when it opened in the, then, Terminal A Baggage Claim as The Book Cellar. In 1991, the husband and wife duo became partners with the original owners after working as freelance book sellers in the Triangle.
Shortly after their partnership began, the store relocated to the terminal’s concourse. The couple became sole owners in 2003 and in 2008, 2nd Edition was one of the first retailers to open in Terminal 2.
Now, 26 years later, the store still brings a smile to their faces. Customers are the heart and soul of 2nd Edition and the Airport Authority has received countless compliments about the store over the years.
As the longest-running retail partner at RDU, it’s clear that travelers will miss the warm and welcoming bookstore. However, the couple is excited about the future knowing that they’ve had such a positive impact on the community.
“The most rewarding thing has been the kind of comments we get from customers,” says Walter. “If you worked here for just one day, you would be surprised how many people came and said ‘oh my gosh a used bookstore at the airport, I can’t believe you provide such a service here.”
Karen agrees, adding that the experiences behind the scenes have been just as exciting.
“Going out to book sales, working with other dealers, and dealing with customers and trying to find what they’re interested in has been both a challenge and exciting,” she says.
The two are excited about the road ahead. Karen says they’re ready to finally retire from their “last job.” In the coming years, they plan to travel across the country visiting all 59 national parks. Walter is also a competitive chess player and tournament organizer and they plan to travel in support of his hobby, as well.
But after more than a quarter of a century surrounded by books, the two have something rather surprising in store for their retirement.
“We’re finally going to have time to read! We spend so much time buying books, processing books, taking care of paperwork, we don’t have time to read ourselves,” he said. “We finally have time to read ourselves and we’ve set aside thousands of books that we plan to read in our retirement.”
2nd Edition will remain open until December 31. And, if you’re traveling on December 13, the store will host a farewell celebration with snacks and discounts on remaining inventory.