Recession Spurs Sales of Used Books as Residents Turn to Reading

Originally published in print and online at The Auburn Journal Sept. 14, 2009

Mysteries, pop culture topics are top choices

Auburn readers looking to save some cash are searching for cheap entertainment, and are finding it at local used bookstores.

James Van Eaton, owner and manager of Winston Smith Books Downtown, said that this is the first time in his experience that economic downturns have led to increased book sales.

In addition to some loyal regulars, Van Eaton said many readers who are feeling the pressure to cut expenses are skipping Borders and Barnes & Noble and coming into his store.

“We get a lot of people coming back, and coming by when they’re in town or in the state,” Van Eaton said. “But we’re also getting a lot of new customers who didn’t even know we were here.”

Van Eaton said many of his customers come in looking for mystery novels, but that books made popular by movies and media bring in a lot of traffic as well. Copies of Julia Child’s cookbooks flew off the shelves when the film “Julie & Julia” hit theaters, and Van Eaton expects “The Da Vinci Code” author Dan Brown’s books to be a big seller when the new Brown book is released on Sept. 15.

Over at A Book Haven, books that have been adapted for the big screen are selling fast as well. Owner Shelle Parsons said Audrey Niffenegger’s book “The Time Traveler’s Wife” has been one of the most requested this summer after the movie version was released…

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