I'm a firm believer that every story can find it's way into a forever home. Not necessarily in MY home, but somewhere out in the great beyond, all those books I discover in the nooks and crannies of a used bookstore are like those puppies at the pound. Pages wagging with excitement, all those little titles look at me with those well-loved covers and seem to whisper, "Are YOU the one to take us home today?"
I'm addicted to the written word and I discovered a new booky playground in Knoxville.
After meeting Heather Hamilton (what a cool name), manager of Scruffy City Books, located at 2700 Hoitt Ave, I knew I wanted to interview her and find out more about this cool lady who seems to love books nearly as much as I do!
Me: Considering our
struggling economy, what made you want to open up a second hand bookstore?
a small and flexible business with our hands in both e-commerce and retail.
We've seen e-books plateau and slightly decline while physical books have
grown in popularity over the past year or so. People love books and are
going to continue to buy books in whatever market conditions exist. While
retail, in general, has had its struggles over the past few years, we believe
that niche markets that offer real value to customers will always have a place
at the table. Moreover, we believe that low prices and great customer
service are strong points that we can provide no matter the economic
Me: I noticed you have
an expansive inventory in a lot of genres. Where do you go to find the books
you, we are always working to expand and better organize them. Our
sources for books are always changing, but have included recyclers, auctions,
and books brought to the store for trade-in. Usually, when we receive
books in our warehouse they arrive in large pallets, which are then sorted
through. We organize them by genre and then bring them into the store to
shelve. Whatever we are unable to use, we recycle.
Me: Tell us a little
bit about your store...i.e. pricing, genres covered, any specials my readers
need to know about?
great thing about our store is the affordability. The majority of our
kid's books are $1, and standard books are $3 with the exception of some
popular titles which are priced as marked. We also have a growing
selection of CD's and audiobooks for $3 each. Another popular deal are
our bulk bins, where customers can fill a bag (which we provide) of kid's books
from our bulk bins for $10. We love to see how many books people are able
to fit in the bags...I think the current record is 110 books.
also excited about the loyalty program we just launched, which allows customers
to earn points for in store coupons. Customers are able to enroll in this
program at check out.
books of many different genres, but one of my personal favorites is the vintage
section. The books are just so pretty and unique, they really don't make
them like that anymore.
Me: Do you have any
upcoming events we need to know about?
we are such a new business, we do not have any events on our calendar yet,
although we are floating several ideas around and I'm certain we will plan
something special for our anniversary in August as well as Small Business
Saturday in November.
Me: If a customer is
looking for something in particular you might not have in stock, are you able
to locate it for them? How about shipping options if someone wanted to order
direct and have the books sent to them?
Heather: While we
don't control which particular new titles we recieve, we bring in and sort
through thousands of books a week, so we are often able to locate titles for
customers that we do not currently have in stock, although we cannot guarantee
it. Even if we are unable to find a book for a customer, we appreciate
these requests as they help us have a better idea of how to stock our shelves
and what titles readers are looking for.
don't have many requests to ship books, but the handful of times we have it is
simply the price of the items plus standard shipping costs.
Me: What genres of
books do you or your partner read? Favorite books?
I enjoy reading a little bit of everything, but I probably read more science
fiction and fantasy. Right now I'm reading The Eyre Affair by Jasper
Fforde and it's been a lot of fun so far. As far as favorite books, there
are so many and with the list always growing, it's difficult to know where to
Me: What's the best way
for new customers to reach you? Are you on social sites like Facebook? Twitter?
are on Facebook and Instagram as Scruffy City Books, and we try to be as
responsive as possible on each of those, whether it be via comment or direct
Me: What are your
hours? What's something
unique or special about you that my readers would find interesting?
9:00-5:00 and Sunday 1:00-5:00. Scruffy
City Books gives back to our community through our work with Title 1 schools
via the Knoxville Dream Center. This has included everything from
donating books, donating a portion of our sales, and providing teachers with
coupons for free books for their classrooms.
Me: Do you have any
local author events scheduled in the future like book signings, reading to
kids, mini workshops, etc?
at this time, but that is certainly something we would love to look into.
There were so many lovely books to choose from, I was disappointed that I couldn't bring them all with me to a forever home. And I imagine, so were they...
International best selling author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt Taekwondo Instructor by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host and book reviewer for Harper Collins, She is also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and Children's Book Insider. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, time at the beach, and well written stories.