Friday, January 26, 2018

In The Spotlight - Dartmouth Book Exchange

Storybook Findings

Each week, I receive a small local newspaper that comes with the retail flyers. While I usually quickly flip through the pages to browse the articles inside, this past summer, the front cover caught my attention. The article highlighted a book store I had not heard of, and I was surprised to learn it was located about ten minutes away.

After reading the story, I did what every curious person does in the digital-age we live in—I checked the internet. I quickly learned about a hidden gem book store, Dartmouth Book Exchange.
Like many used book stores, Dartmouth Book Exchange buys, trades, and sells used books. However, this store is unlike any other used book store I’ve visited. I learned a bit of the store’s history from the shop’s manager, Sue Slade.

Amy McIsaac has owned the store for seventeen years, and Sue has worked there for the last seven years, becoming store manger a few years ago. They have over 2000sq. feet of retail space to shop and browse.

They mainly sell popular fiction, similar to what you might find at Chapters. Their inventory is organized according to genres such as popular fiction, True Crime, Historical Romance, Canadian Fiction, British Authors, Christian Fiction, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Fiction.
What sets this particular book store from the others is the organization of their shop. Every genre has its own section, allowing you to browse the books with ease.

There are sitting areas placed throughout the store, letting a customer view their selection more closely before buying.
The bonus feature of this store is its welcoming atmosphere. With my daughter and I being newbies to the store, Sue gave us the two-cent tour, which immediately introduced the inviting personality of the staff and its business.

I asked Sue what she enjoyed most about working in a book store. “I love books, reading them, talking about them & organizing them. We get to meet new people almost daily with the same interests. Many of our customers have become great friends, not just of the store but with the staff as well. What’s not to like.” Her response matched my initial reaction upon entering the store.

They acquire their inventory from ordinary people like myself who enjoy the print book. Customers can bring their good-conditioned books in for store credit and use a portion (50%) toward buying more books.

While Sue said their most popular genre of books sold is popular fiction, they also have sections for cookbooks, health & diet, humour, parenting, history, etc., and even a separate children’s section. You might even find an author spotlighted if their birthday is around the corner or they are celebrating some other milestone. They have unique specialty tables, such as Canada Reads, Book Club table, High Demand table, Guess the Theme table & a Seasonal table. Sue said the books on their specialty tables change regularly.

The table my daughter and I were drawn to is their “Blind Date with a Book” table.
They have cute bookmarks with this enticement: Spice up your reading life by going on a Blind Date with a Book! A book won’t judge you or stand you up, and will last longer than most blind dates. They are cheaper than blind dates with people and you don’t have to worry about what to wear, and you may meet a new author and fall in love. It’s a great fun way to try something outside your actual range of reading.

The wrapped book has a few hints to capture your reading interest. My daughter was immediately intrigued and selected a book. Sue graciously offered to supply her with the title, but my daughter wanted the element of surprise, and she was quite happy when she unwrapped the book at home.

I asked Sue if the growing popularity of eBooks had any affect on their business. “We were one of the lucky ones. Our loyal customers and a few changes to the book credit policy kept us a viable business. The good news is people are definitely embracing the print book again. We've seen a steady climb in customers and sales over the last couple years.”
“We keep all our books on a searchable database, so if a customer wants to know if we have a particular book, it’s at the tip of our hands. We are constantly evolving to make a better shopping experience for our customers.” 
Sue’s last statement is very evident.
I want to thank Sue, and Amy - who I also got to meet during my visit. Both ladies were very welcoming and made the short distance trip to their store an enjoyable one. I purchased two books for my daughter, and I see more browsing and shopping in this delightful shop in the very near future.

Since my original meeting with Amy and Sue last summer, I have visited the book store on several occasions. Amy and Sue have supported the magazine with promoting many of our Romance in a Baskets in their store to their customers. And most recently, they've purchased an order of bookmarks from Still Moments Designs to sell at the store.

The book store will open a new page in February with hosting its first author. Local, young adult and children's author, Melanie Mosher, will be visiting with some of her books on February 10 from 1-4pm. And on March 24, the book store welcomes Still Moments Designs, who will be there with many of their hand-made book marks.

I highly recommend if you are in the Cole Harbour area, and looking for something to read, Dartmouth Book Exchange is the place to visit!

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