Books and books and books galore! At Gently Used Books, 19 Douglassville Shopping Center, Douglassville, there are over 100,000 used books for your choosing.
Ramona DeWalt, along with her husband, Ken, opened their used book store in June 2005 after accumulating a personal collection of great reads. Originally, the store opened in Amity Square but the DeWalt’s only had around 900 sq.ft. to work with.
In 2007, Gently Used Books moved to the Douglassville shopping center, where the store got to expand. Now with over 5,000 sq.ft., thanks to the addition of space from a moved out video store next door, the store has grown to it’s potential. The store has three room; a fiction room, non-fiction room and a children’s room.
Housing over 100,000 books is not an easy feat, but it’s DeWalt who states “books are the key to our future” and dedicates herself to providing the community with quality books. “We clean all the books before they go on the shelf,” said DeWalt, “We shelf them in alphabetical order, everything is organized.” DeWalt uses her personal love of books and reading to provide quality books to her customers. At Gently Used, DeWalt never purchases any books but instead gets them by donation or trade. For those who bring books to trade, a trade credit can be acquired. When a new purchase is made, half of the purchase price will be deducted from the trade account. Along with providing quality customer service, DeWalt also offers a service unique to used book stores: the store will alert you when a book you have been looking for is on the shelves.
DeWalt says economics is the main driving force to bring in customers. Paperbacks are sold at half of the original publisher price, hardcover best-sellers are in the $5 - $6 price range, older hardcovers sell for $1 and are “buy 2, get 1 free.”
“You can get a new book at a quarter of the original publisher price,” said DeWalt, who wants to make reading affordable for everyone.
Before owning her own book store, DeWalt worked at Borders for 13 years, seven of which were spent in the children’s section. “I never realized that teachers have to buy their classroom library out of their own pocket,” said DeWalt. She wants to be a resource for teachers to replenish their classroom library “without paying an arm and a leg,” especially for those recent graduates just breaking into the teaching field.
Gently Used Books has a staff of 6; with 3 part-time and 3 full-time employees. Throughout a week, DeWalt said there are 400 - 600 paying customers that come through the doors. Summer is the busiest time for the store. “Teachers and kids are out of school, people are looking for a book for vacation or the beach,” said DeWalt, who said spring is the slowest time because of the nice weather. Encouraging others to read is part of what DeWalt and Gently Used Books can offer. Every Wednesday a “Storytime” is offered at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. where preschool aged children come to hear a story read by DeWalt.
DeWalt is passionate about reading and providing quality books for others. Some of her favorite authors are Pat Conroy and Elizabeth George. “I like a variety,” she said.
DeWalt’s husband, Ken, will be retiring from Hope Church in two years and Ramona would like to join him in retirement. The business of Gently Used Books is currently for sale, and the couple is searching for someone who also values reading books and appreciates what books can provide. If you are interested in purchasing Gently Used Books and making it your own, email Ken DeWalt at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.