Public Library’s bookstore turns over a new leaf

    While bookstores everywhere are feeling the pinch of the economic recession and customers wandering toward electronic media, a used bookstore in Princeton is going gangbusters.

    For two decades the Friends of the Princeton Public Library sold donated books on unsorted shelves deep inside the library. If you didn’t already know where those shelves were, you would never find them, says Friends member Sharri Garber. She says the Friends also operated a small gift shop near the front of the library that was bleeding money.

    “Our purpose is to raise money for the library to buy new selections of books and media and that kind of stuff,” she says. “So when it was losing money, we had to stop doing it – the whole purpose was to make money.”

    But rather than close the store, in 2009 the Friends moved those donated books into the library store, sorted them, and installed some chairs. It worked. The new store makes more money in a month than the old store did in a year – as much as $6000. And the Friends now take in more donated books than ever – about 1,200 a month.

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