01/04/2012 04:37 EST | Updated 03/05/2012 05:12 EST

The Book Mark, beloved Toronto bookstore, to close

One of Toronto’s oldest independent bookstores will close its doors by the end of the month.

The Book Mark has announced that it will cease operations after more than four decades in the book business, citing rising rent and property taxes that are too much for the owner, Sue Houghting, to bear.

Houghting said the Bloor Street West store simply cannot stay open any longer.

“It’s really tough,” Houghting told CBC News on Wednesday. “We do it because we love it, we don’t expect to make very much money.”

Long-time customers said Wednesday they were saddened to hear of the demise of their beloved bookstore.

“I’m sorry to see it go,” said Jack Glenny, who had shopped at The Book Mark for years.

Miriam Rothgerber-Hott said The Book Mark was the only bookstore where she regularly shopped.

She appreciated its quiet and inviting atmosphere, as well as staff who were always willing to help her find something new and interesting to read.

“It’s a real loss, I have to say,” she said.

Houghting said the book industry has gotten tougher for independent stores over the years, as they competed with large-scale chains and online retailers.

“There were a lot of factors, so you had to just keep toughing it out,” said Houghting.

Pamela Gough said the city is losing “a little bit of our history” with the end of The Book Mark.

“It’s a real bookstore. It's the way a bookstore should be,” said Gough, who worked at the shop when her children were young.

“It’s filled with people who love to read and knowledgeable people that read the books they sell. It’s the way a bookstore should be, I think.”