BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Curious George & Friends in Harvard Square is closing after 15 years.

Curious George president Hillel Stavis said on Monday that the children’s book store will close within the next two or three weeks because its 150-year-old building is falling apart. He said massive reconstruction has made it impossible to continue because the store has lost half of its selling and storage space.

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He added that the ongoing sidewalk renovation project outside the store also helped seal their fate, making it harder for customers to get in the door.

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports.

Stavis also said competition from the Internet and electronic reading devices has made staying open untenable.

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“The independent book business has really suffered a lot of blows and it’s technology-oriented. It’s kind of like waking up one morning owning a slide-rule factory the day after the calculator gets invented,” said Stavis.

Stavis and Donna Friedman launched the children’s book store in 1996 to honor their friends, H. A. and Margret Rey, the couple who created that naughty little monkey.

They hope some internet entrepreneur will step in and figure out a way to carry the “Curious George” concept forward online.

Stavis said they tried to turn the colorful store into a nonprofit, but that didn’t work.

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Ken MacLeod