One of New York's most famous literary landmarks, the elegant Scribner Book Store on Fifth Avenue, is due to close its doors next month after 140 years, a victim of rocketing real estate prices in midtown Manhattan.

The bookstore was founded in 1846 by the Scribner family, publishers of authors such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, who were also customers.The store, whose facade graces a part of the famous avenue otherwise dominated by nondescript skyscrapers, is now owned by Rizzoli International Bookstores Inc., which leases the building.

Sherrie Murphy, director of publicity at Rizzoli, said the new owner of the building, the Italian clothing chain Benetton, plans a substantial rent increase in part to finance renovation work on the store's interior.

Murphy told Reuters the rent increase has priced the store out of the busy midtown area and that management is now looking for new premises.