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A BLAST FROM THE PAST

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Bookstore on North Columbia opening July 6

  • A BLAST FROM THE PAST

Bookstores, once left for dead, currently are making a comeback, albeit with a different business model.

Walls of Books, a franchise based in Macon, is scheduled to open a new location in Milledgeville on July 6. The address is 1905 North Columbia St., located next to Little Caesars.

Walls of Books is both a new and used bookstore, although used books comprise roughly 95 percent of a store’s inventory, according to an article on the Publishers Weekly website. The article added that “franchise locations carry publishers’ overstock as well as some new books, particularly heavily discounted bestsellers.”

“We deal primarily in good used books. This is not like your typical old-fashioned used book store that you used to find, where there were stacks and stacks of paperback books and whatever they could get their hands on,” said Milledgeville franchisee Scott McElheney, a Jasper County man who went to school at Georgia College. “We are very picky about what we take in on trade and buy from wholesalers. The idea is that we sell books that could sometimes pass as new for highly discounted prices.”

Essentially, the business model is based on trade-ins and store credits. New bestsellers, for example, are on average sold or traded roughly three times, according to the Publishers Weekly article. On Walls of Books website, there’s a “FAQ” for potential franchisees. Under the “Is the used bookstore business profitable” question is the answer, “When done properly, profit margins from the resale industry are quite good. As long as you know how to balance Page 4A your buying and trading procedures, your margin on each sale will be high. The used book trade is a unique industry because you do not operate through the normal channels of a typical retail store. For the majority of your inventory, you will be trading books (rather than buying; no cash expense) from customers instead of ordering from a vendor catalog. The costs of goods sold is very low.”

The Milledgeville location will be stocked with somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 books, at any given time. The square footage is roughly 3,500 square feet, which is larger than the average Walls of Books location.

Gotwals Books, the parent company, opened its first location in Warner Robins in Lake Oconee Ne 2007 before adding to other locations. The owners – Shane and Abbey Gotwals – live in Macon. Walls of Books is the franchise version of Gotwals Books. According to the business’ website, there currently are three locations in Georgia, two in Tennessee, as well as one each in Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington. s