Not so novel: Used bookstore celebrates 30th anniversary
Cracked spines, pencil marks in margins, creased corners from dog-eared pasts; these are some of the idiosyncrasies that give used books their distinct charm. And, in Estacada, there's only one spot to find these treasures: The Book Nook.
The Book Nook opened its doors as a non-profit, volunteer-run, used bookstore in 1992, and has remained that way ever since.
"It is all volunteer," store manager Linda Arnett said. "No one is paid to work at the store, nobody ever was."
Covered wall to wall in titles new and old, the bookstore runs entirely on donations of money or books. Business is steady, according to Arnett, and the store saw a bigger surge recently due to more summer events taking place in the area this year.
"This last weekend was absolutely fabulous and very successful for us," Arnett said. "We had so many people in town and people that were attending other events would come see us."
The store has about 100 regulars who come in to buy and donate books throughout the week.
"Our entire inventory is donated, so for us to keep our inventory fresh and going and full we depend on donations from the community," Arnett said.
Arnett used to visit local Goodwill Thrift Stores to buy books to sell at the Book Nook, but the prices there have grown too expensive for the store to turn a profit.
Since its opening, the store has never changed its pricing, meaning books, even hardcovers, never cost over two dollars. In comparison, a used hardcover book from Powell's Books can cost anywhere between ten dollars to over twenty dollars.
"Our sales have doubled in 30 years even though our prices have not changed," Arnett said. "We've never increased our prices, we've never charged more than $2 for a book."
The Book Nook hosts a variety of sales and specials at the store, hosting a $1 book sale where no book is over $1 during the months of March and October. Additionally, children who visit the store get a free book of their choice. Bibles, dictionaries, and Alcoholic-Anonymous books are free of cost at the store.
The Book Nook has been devoted to maintaining the same prices they've had since their start, no matter the inflation going on in the world around them. However, this doesn't make the store exempt from the growing rent since 1992, and they work hard to keep the place running.
"Our goal is always to make our rent and make our expenses," Arnett said. "But when you have an inventory where no book in the store is over $2, it's month to month."
Many other non-profit bookstores are struggling to stay afloat in the inflating economy.
"They're dying all over," Arnett said of other bookstores. "And the reason they're dying is because of rent."
Despite all this, the passion of the book-loving volunteers who work at the Book Nook rise above the struggles the store may face.
"I don't do anything alone," Arnett said. "I've gotten a lot of help and a lot of support."
Monetary or book donations are accepted at the Book Nook. The store is located at 155 S.W Third Ave., Suite 102.
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