Tags: Community & Outreach
Kim McNamara stands amid the 100,000 tomes that Read It Again Books has for its fans of gently read books. She and her staff treat customers like old friends because they generally are old friends. (click for larger version)
February 27, 2014JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Tucked away in the shopping center at the northwest corner of Medlock Bridge and McGinnis Ferry roads next to the big Michael's frame shop is one of those fusty, jam-packed little bookstores that book lovers just adore poking around.
Founded in 2002 by Della and Kim McNamara, a mother and daughter team, Read It Again Books is quite the family affair. Like all used bookstores, it is somewhat idiosyncratic, but well organized. However, even with 2,000 square feet, the shelves are packed.
Kim McNamara and her mother started Read It Again shortly after Kim graduated college.
"This was the third retail business my mother started, and I needed something to do after college. We both have always loved books. And my husband does bookstore software for a living. That is a big help when you have an inventory of over 100,000 books," McNamara said.
"My husband's software tracks the inventory for 200 bookstores – new and used," she said. "And I needed a job, so we were drafted. But I love coming to work every day and talking books with my customers."
If it isn't on the shelf, they can find it for you. And just to keep it all in the family, McNamara's stepfather built all of the bookshelves.
Most used bookstores act more like a fraternity – or sorority as the case may be – than as competitors. They swap books and ideas. McNamara cites Eagle Eye Bookstore in Decatur and Bookmiser in Roswell and East Cobb as collegial business associates. Humpus Bumpus in Cumming is approaching "legendary" status, having served residents around 30 years. They are another friend.
Read It Again has a wide range of fiction and nonfiction books – new and used. They also carry an "eclectic" selection of gifts, cards and novelties.
"We also check with the local schools, so we can carry books on their reading lists for each term and summer reading lists. We give students a 20 percent discount on those books. It's a way to give back to the community and a way to support young readers," McNamara said.
"We also had schools in mind when we picked this location. It's smack-dab in the center of several middle schools and high schools," she said. "Once parents come in, we show them how to use our request line, so they can come in and get what they want right away. But most people who come in like to browse anyway."
That's OK, because there is always plenty of staff to point patrons in the right direction.
"We pride ourselves on our customer service. Most of our staff have been here five years or more. And two of them are just in their 20s.They even come over and hang out on their days off. It's their passion for books," McNamara said.
Soon, they plan to start a book reading for children on Saturdays. They often have local authors in the store to talk about the craft of writing, and of course to sign their work as well.
Despite the intrusion of e-books, McNamara says she has a growing customer base. 2013 was their best year yet.
Part of the fun of coming into a used bookstore is the thrill of the hunt – coming across that book you always meant to read and then there it is before you.
"We enjoy talking to our customers about books. It is always a thrill to introduce a reader to a new author. It really is like family here," McNamara said.
Executive Editor, Appen Media.