Though opening a bookstore in the era of e-readers may seem like a gamble, for many people, there's no substitute for the sight and smell of a store lined with paperbacks and hardcovers. Elliott and Lisa Sarpy opened Walls of Books (910 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 504-281-4224; www.gottwalsbooks.com/franchising/neworleans) in August.
Founded in Warner Robins, Georgia, Walls of Books is a franchise offering new and used books of all genres, including classics and works by local authors. The buy-and-trade bookstore has discounted prices.
"All of the books are in great condition," Elliott says. "We have some new books, bestsellers and a lot of New Orleans books. We have classics that are new."
There also is a kids' corner filled with toys and children's books, as well as a chalkboard for kids to draw on and a carpet for story time.
"Not only can you get children's books as gifts, but we also have the Melissa and Doug line," Lisa says. "That'll be a really big draw if you're not a book-y person. I had a lady come in just to buy toys."
Walls of Books offers store credit for book trade-ins. The condition and size of the books as well as demand determine the amount of credit.
"We might have one [book] of a series," Lisa says. "So ... we'll pay you more to get that series [title] that we only have one of. Whereas if we have four of that one book from a series, we wouldn't pay as much. We just have to know our inventory to judge how much to pay."
Paperbacks get about 50 to 75 cents and hardcovers get $1 to $1.50 in store credit. The process of trading books is simple.
"[The customer] just brings them in and we approve them and give them a price," Elliott says.
"[Customers] can only use up to 50 percent of the purchase price with your credit. You have to come back and use the remaining credit another time."
They also can bring back books purchased at Walls of Books and get store credit.
"After you read it, if you don't want to keep it, bring it in and ... get another book," Lisa says. "That way, you can trade in the books you buy here as well."