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Recession spurs sales of used books as residents turn more to reading

Mysteries, pop culture topics are top choices
By: Julie Eng, Journal Correspondent
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Auburn readers looking to save some cash are searching for cheap entertainment, and are finding it at local used bookstores. James Van Eaton, owner and manager of Winston Smith Books Downtown, said that this is the first time in his experience that economic downturns have led to increased book sales. In addition to some loyal regulars, Van Eaton said many readers who are feeling the pressure to cut expenses are skipping Borders and Barnes & Noble and coming into his store. “We get a lot of people coming back, and coming by when they’re in town or in the state,” Van Eaton said. “But we’re also getting a lot of new customers who didn’t even know we were here.” Van Eaton said many of his customers come in looking for mystery novels, but that books made popular by movies and media bring in a lot of traffic as well. Copies of Julia Child’s cookbooks flew off the shelves when the film “Julie & Julia” hit theaters, and Van Eaton expects “The Da Vinci Code” author Dan Brown’s books to be a big seller when the new Brown book is released on Sept. 15. Over at A Book Haven, books that have been adapted for the big screen are selling fast as well. Owner Shelle Parsons said Audrey Niffenegger’s book “The Time Traveler’s Wife” has been one of the most requested this summer after the movie version was released. When asked what she would recommend to customers looking for a new read, Parsons said she’s been suggesting Niffenegger’s novel for years, but advises readers finish the book before seeing the movie. Parsons also said bookworms of all ages are sure to love Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series. With a movie adaptation of the second novel in the works, Parsons said the books will continue to be highly requested. Another popular book-turned-movie that Louis Borelli, co-owner of A Book Exchange Inc., recommends is “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. Mystery novels are also big sellers at all of Auburn’s used book stores. Parsons and Borelli both said Janet Evanovich’s loveable detective Stephanie Plum is a big hit with Auburn readers. Van Eaton advises those looking for a new author check out Nelson DeMille’s detective stories. Some other best-selling authors to look for are Lee Child, James Patterson, and Harlan Coben, said Borelli. These are just a few writers whose books can be found at the A Book Exchange, and this week is a good time to buy. On the 18th, the store will begin its monthly sale. Borelli said most of their inventory will be on sale for $2 a book. All three stores will trade gently used books for store credit, and at Winston Smith Books cash is offered on a case-by-case basis. A general rule of thumb for what will be accepted for exchange: some wear-and-tear but no significant rips, mold, or water damage. Book lovers can exchange old favorites and new finds at local book clubs. The Auburn Library hosts a group called Auburn Books and Lunch once a month, where members bring their lunches and discuss the chosen book. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The club will be reading Jeanette Walls’ memoir “The Glass Castle.” Terry Pilot, Branch Manager at the Auburn Library, helps choose the books the club reads. She attributes the club’s success to an abundance of local readers. “Auburn is definitely a reading community,” Pilot said. ---------- Used Bookstores • Winston Smith Books Where: 933 Lincoln Way When: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday • Book Haven: Where: 884 Lincoln Way, No. 27 When: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday, open until 9 p.m. most Friday nights, Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. • A Book Exchange Inc: Where: 1209 Grass Valley Hwy When: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday