How did the reimaginizing of Bookbrokers come about???
I don't know what it is, but I've always been comfortable with a book in my hand. To learn things, to be things, to imagine things. It's always been an important part of my life. Everywhere I'd travel, even when I was young, the trip was never complete unless a visit to the bookstore was part of the itinerary. It was used as a bribe, a reward, an adventure in itself, and I've loved it, loved it then, love it today.
But the platform changed: instead of visiting stores, I decided to create my own. So here's my story of building places of stories.
My first was created 1990 in Rome, Georgia, when I was a professor at Floyd College. I look for spots, and had asked my barber, who's shop was near my home. He said he owned a block of shop spaces, and offered a corner store for $50 per month. It was a cinder block structure, with one bare bulb, no phone, a carpet that was rolled over the ground, no bathroom, and I loved it. I built the wood shelving myself, went to yard sakes and flea markets, loading it with books, any books, just to fill the shelves. They were all used books, some worse for the wear, but they filled the spaces nicely. I picked up lamps to light up the space, a calculator and cash box. I opened the doors, and Chulio Bookbrokers (named after the road I was on) was ready for business. The sign was made of stencil letters and specials were written on a chalkboard. My wife stopped by after her shift at the hospital, to relieve me so I could head home to get a quick bite and hit the bathroom. How much did we make? $1.67! She was sad, thinking we'd have to sell everything, while I was elated, feeling that we'd make even more the next day and next. I was hooked.
We did so well, that we began looking for a spot in town. After visiting several spots, we settled on a quaint shop, christened it Bookbrokers, put in nicer bookshelves, stacked them ten feet high, and filled them with even better quality used books, as well as remainders. We had advertising, I hired help, added background music, a cash register, unique window displays, highlighted stories about place in the local newspaper, and. The store flourished.
Because of its success, we started thinking about moving back home, near family, while plying our trade. I sold the business, with contract, half the stock, and the community goodwill including membership lists. We found a nice spot on Union, near where one of the first used bookstores used to be, and Bookbrokers arrived in Traverse City, Michigan. We added knickknacks, comics, and cards, and even more books. I built larger enforced shelves to hold all of the stock, purchased a counter, reworked and added to the space after gutting it in its entirety to make it book ready. Added comfort with chairs and a couch, and we took off again, expanding the hours, and living on the second floor.
We did so well, the two malls had representatives stop by - the Cherryland offered a large space, $500 per month on a month to month basis - the Grand Traverse offered a slightly smaller space, one year contract, at $1200 per month. We went with the Grand Traverse - why? Because they guaranteed that 50,000 people on average would see our store per week - we couldn't pass on that opportunity. It was a challenge to open, such as our shelving was struck 4 hours away because of a strike, but we rented a truck, went to the distribution center, and loaded up shelving, staying up late the night before, to add wall shelving, lighting, counters, two cash register, and tons of displays. The store was christened Comic Quest, with a flashy sign, and an overstck of comics, books, movies and cards. We succeeded beyond our wildest dreams, hiring several employees - my favorite memory was having a line of people, I running one register, and my son, who was ten at the time running the other.
As time went on, I sold off most of the stock, and store location, after watching the market implode. I worked for a couple other bookstores: Horizon Books - Traverse City, Horizon Books - Cadillac, and Books-A-Million - Traverse City.
But today, now that I'm retired from teaching, I still look for that next spot to open the doors, hang my sign, and sell my wares, this time as Bookbrokers - www.bookbrokers1.com ....until the next time! AND YES, WE BUY, SELL & TRADE, as well as donate books to those in need!
Bookbrokers & Kramer’s Cafe Used Book Buy-Sell-Trade-Donate Policy - How It Works
We buy-sell-trade-donate books every day of the week, with no need for an appointment. Our buying-selling-trading-donating hours are 10am - 9pm Monday-Saturday, and 12pm - 6pm on Sunday. If you are bringing books, or even visiting our store, the best route is the back entrance just to the left of TJ Maxx. If bringing books, call us at 1-231-943-1707, and we’ll bring a cart to you.
All of our books and merchandise are available for sale. You will notice that most of the goods are in pristine condition, without the pristine prices. You take the cover price, take 50% off, and that’s the price that we sell the book for. If it doesn’t have a price, bring it up to us, and we’ll determine the market price, and reduce it by 50%. If you wish to sell the book in the future, we will help you by appraising the book and determining a fair market price to be sold.
Bring your books in during our buying hours and a buyer will look at them as soon as possible. A box or bag might take just 10-15 minutes. You're welcome to browse while we assess your books. We can also make arrangements for you to return later in the day. We may ask what the earliest time you would return might be, allowing us to perform "triage" if other trades come in. Please understand space is very limited, and it's hard to keep them from getting mixed up with the hundreds of books coming through the store every day, so you may want to take a picture of the books that you would like us to consider. We may ask for more pics, before we have you bring them in. Depending on demand and value, we may work with consignment if they are books we can use in the store. We consider the collection as a whole so we, and/or the customer will not “cherry pick” the goods available. Otherwise, we may turn down the collection, if we cannot use it all..
We'll go through the books and make an offer in credit (more value than cash). We usually accept books for two or three for one, to cover 75% of value of book purchased in our store. You may establish a credit account to be used on used books only.
We accept many/most books on donation, and we donate them to organizations, schools, charities and groups.When we receive books, we will make the decision as to how the books will be used, whether in the store, or in our many groups, and which ones. We do not accept donations of books we cannot use nor donate.We love to give back, but those groups should receive quality books. Thank you!
A Few Tips
We are a general interest book store, so we look at books in all subjects.We also accept games and puzzles (must be complete), and DVDs if classics or based on books. Action figures only if they have demand in their fandoms. Crafts/art/photography is not included in trade terms nor transactions. While there are some exceptions, we try to avoid the following:
Books with excessive marks or damage
book club editions
multi-volume sets (like encyclopedias or Time Life sets)
Reader's Digest condensed books
Paperbacks ( unless they are of value from the 60s or earlier)
No romance, limited on westerns
It's not that we dislike any of these things -- they just don't sell for us, and we are very limited on space..
We frequently deal with twenty or more boxes at a time, so quantity isn't a problem. If you're bringing down five or more boxes we'd appreciate a call first to give us a heads up, and send us a picture, so we can determine if they need to be brought down.. We prefer to do all buying at our store, but if you have 2,500+ books we might be able to come to you. Please call 231-943-1707 to inquire about house visits for large collections.
We do not give estimates over the phone. We will not do appraisals of items you're not interested in selling. We reserve the right not to purchase books.We do not trade if we do not need the books.
Whether we take a book depends on a number of factors. Condition is the single most important factor. If a book has notes or highlighting; water damage or other stains; foxing or other discoloration; a previous owner's inscriptions, book plates, blind stamps, or other "ex libris" marks; excessive edge wear; or creases along the spine, smells, mold, damage, there's a good chance we will pass on it. Our current stock is also a factor: at any given time, we may be overstocked on a particular title.
There is no fixed amount of credit (most common), nor cash (less common) that we offer for a book. The book's age, popularity, scarcity and other factors all play a role. Also, credit is not itemized - we make one lump-sum offer for what you bring in, nor will we accept pieces of the collection, only the entire collection, not a few books here or there..
Some Things to Know About Credit
*Credit can be used against used books.
*You can also apply your store credit to books we special order.
* Moving out of town or just feeling charitable? There are a number of organizations (school libraries, Books to Prisoners, etc) that would love to have credit. If you wish to donate all or part of your credit to one of these organizations, we'd be happy to do that.
*Trade credit never expires and doesn't require you to keep any sort of voucher. Our system is backed up every three hours and we store a paper copy of each credit slip that's entered into our system, so your credit is always safe with us. If you don't have an account, a name and phone number are all that's required to create one.
* Multiple names can also be kept on one account. We take privacy seriously and will never use your information for any purpose other than to access your account, and we will never sell or lend it to any third party.
Cash for Books
**If you are only interested in getting cash for your books, we do sometimes make exceptions for highly unusual/sought after/in demand books. We can usually tell by asking a few questions over the phone whether the books are ones we might pay cash for; however, the final valuation (if any) will still have to be made in the store once you've brought the books in, and nothing we say over the phone should be taken as a guarantee that we'll buy (for credit or cash) books we haven't seen yet.
ALSO, be aware that the cash offer is usually half of whatever the trade offer would be, so taking credit is still a better deal.