About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bibliomaniac Bargains

The Bookshelf
2417 N. Cedar St.
Holt, MI 48842

For a bibliomaniac like me, meeting a fellow book lover is always a pleasure. But when that book lover is also the owner of a bookstore chock full of book bargains, so much the better. Recently on my way to visit my son in Lansing, I took a brief detour to the adjacent small community of Holt, Michigan, where I met Laura Spanburg, owner of The Bookshelf, and lover of bargains as well as books. It was not hard for me to understand why Laura is such a happy purveyor of great deals once I learned that she spent seven years as a manager of Bargain Books in Holt. When that store closed two years ago, Laura simply would not let the community be without great deals on good books. She found an available building that had formerly housed an art gallery and opened The Bookshelf.

On February 20, the store will celebrate its two-year anniversary, and what better way to celebrate than with a sale. Laura plans to discount everything in the store by 50%. That's right, half off everything. Half off books, glasses, maps, bookmarks, magazines, audio books, pens, lights--half off everything in the store. Now this is really saying something when you consider that none of the books are sold at full price to begin with. Laura says that most of the new books are offered at about 25% off, but she also has remainders and overstock titles at half off. What's more, she says she tries to do a half-off sale at least 4 times a year.

The Bookshelf is stocked with new and gently used books. If you are looking for a particular title and don't see it on the shelf, Laura will be happy to try to find it for you. She quite often does special orders, a service that is popular especially with her older customers. Laura also buys and sells textbooks for students of nearby Michigan State and Lansing Community College, a definite bargain when compared to the regular campus bookstores. I was not surprised to learn that the Bookshelf offers educator discounts, but I was surprised when Laura told me that she likes to offer discounts to members of the military and police force as well.

The Bookshelf is pleased to host book signings for local authors from time to time. And when authors can't make it to the store for an event, Laura will display signed copies for sale. This shop is definitely involved in the community, and at the time of my visit, going so far as to provide floor space for a local Girl Scout group to sell their famous cookies.

There are still some noticeable remnants of the former art gallery that inhabited the building. Under a vaulted ceiling, an array of spotlights now illuminates shelves so full of books that Laura has piles behind the counter waiting to find shelf space. Meanwhile, large coffee table books have found their temporary homes on high-up ledges that might once have held paintings or sculptures.

About a year ago an adjacent area of the building became available, and Laura expanded to create a cheery children's area, offering toys and games along with a selection of books for the younger set. The bright, inviting space makes up nearly a third of the total floor space at The Bookshelf.

As if there weren't enough bargains to be found in this store, there is also a "Sale" room with books discounted even more. Did I find a bargain? You bet. I was drawn to the classics section where I found a used leather-bound copy of A Tale Of Two Cities. Now I am a Charles Dickens fan, yet am somewhat hesitant to mention that I have never read this particular work. It's about time, don't you think? Up at the front desk, I noticed a display of bookmarks featuring the popular "Grumpy Cat" and decided that one of these will be a great gift for a cat-loving friend. How much did I spend? Well, Laura gave me a new customer discount, so the total for my purchases was only $4.75. But even without the discount, my total would have been under $10--quite a bargain, I'd say.

We here in Michigan have had quite enough of the cold and snow for one year. Spring cannot come soon enough. But on a cold day in February, Laura Spanburg and The Bookshelf provided a bright spot for me. It's never too cold to enjoy a great book and a great bargain!

You can find The Bookshelf on Facebook. Search for The Bookshelf Holt, or click this link.


Anonymous said...

Laura deserves every accolade she receives. New stock arrives on a regular basis and she and her husband have renovated the building as Laura designs ways to make the store even more reader-friendly. All used books in the store have been scrutinized and cleanend by hand before going on the shelf. She frequently rearranges the books to highlight different topics and it's fun to look into books that are not on my usual reading list.
Laura's family is a big part of her life. Her dad made the sign on the front of the building. Her mom and dad spend time looking for interestig books for the store and can often be found visiting the store. They are every bit as nice as she is. Her neices and nephews pitch in when they can. They put together the landscaping and help in the store. Her neice, Paula, comes in to work, otherwise Laura would be there every day, open to close. Laura and her husband, Mike, have dedicated themselves to providing a comfortable, friendly atmosphere with stellar service and it makes shopping there a delightful experience.

M Redd said...

Thanks so much for the additional information about this store. It's nice to know that my impressions were accurate and that Laura is so highly thought of.