Pamplin Media Group – Not so new: Antiquarian bookshop celebrates its 30th anniversary


The Book Nook encourages readers to visit and donate to the long-standing bookstore

Cracked spines, pencil marks along the edges, bent corners from the dog-eared past; these are some of the characteristics that give used books their special charm. And in Estacada, there’s only one place to find these treasures: The Book Nook.

The Book Nook opened its doors in 1992 as a non-profit, volunteer-run antiquarian book shop and has remained so ever since.

“It’s all voluntary,” said store manager Linda Arnett. “No one gets paid to work in the store, no one has ever been paid.”

The bookstore is covered wall to wall with new and old titles and is run entirely by donations of money or books. According to Arnett, business is stable and the store has seen a bigger boom of late with more summer events taking place in the area this year.

“Last weekend was absolutely fabulous and very successful for us,” said Arnett. “We had so many people in town and people who were attending other events would come to see us.”

The store has about 100 regulars who buy and donate books throughout the week.

“All of our inventory is donated, so to keep our inventory fresh, running and full we depend on donations from the community,” Arnett said.

Arnett used to visit local Goodwill thrift stores to buy books to sell at the Book Nook, but prices there have become too expensive for the store to make a profit.

The store has never changed its prices since it opened, meaning books, even hardcovers, never cost more than two dollars. In comparison, a used hardcover book from Powell’s Books can range from $10 to $20+.

“Our sales have doubled in 30 years, even though our prices haven’t changed,” said Arnett. “We’ve never increased our prices, we’ve never charged more than $2 for a book.”

The Book Nook hosts a variety of sales and specials in-store, including a $1 book sale where no book goes over $1 for the months of March and October. Also, children who visit the store receive a free book of their choice. Bibles, dictionaries and books of Alcoholics Anonymous are available for free in the store.

The Book Nook is dedicated to maintaining the same prices they’ve had since their inception, regardless of the inflation that’s going on in the world around them. However, that doesn’t relieve the store from rising rents since 1992, and they work hard to keep the store running.

“Our goal is always to pay our rent and cover our expenses,” Arnett said. “But if you have inventory where no book in the store is more than $2, it’s month-to-month.”

Many other nonprofit bookstores are struggling to stay afloat in the booming economy.

“They die everywhere,” Arnett said of other bookstores. “And the reason they die is because of the rent.”

Despite all of this, the passion of the book-loving volunteers who work at the Book Nook extends beyond any struggles the store may face.

“I don’t do anything alone,” said Arnett. “I got a lot of help and a lot of support.”

Cash or book donations are accepted at the Book Nook. The store is located at 155 SW Third Ave., Suite 102.

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