Denton bookstore aims to charm both readers and musicians

Denton bookstore aims to charm both readers and musicians

Denton bookstore aims to charm both readers and musicians
August 04
09:50 2017

Rows of books with paperback spines line the wooden shelves as the seemingly small corner bookstore unfolds into multiple rooms and sections, each housing an extensive collection of literature and music that promises a little something for everyone.

Books & More is a used book store owned and operated by Denton resident Debra Newton. Though the store has moved locations in Denton twice since its original opening in February 1994, it has served the community at its current location on West University Drive since 2002.

A lifelong love of books and the pursuit of an associate degree in business turned into something greater than expected for Newton when the inspiration for the store was born out of a class assignment.

“I can remember walking to the library when I was in grade school, so I’ve always loved books and went to used book stores,” Newton said. “[I had a class where] the requirement was to do a business plan, but I couldn’t think of any business I wanted to do. So I thought, ‘a used book store — I’d love to do that.’”

The store offers a selection of over 30,000 books. Most of the selection consists of paperback books, and they cover a variety of genres in fiction.

With the allure of storylines ranging from contemporary to paranormal, Newton has collected books that fit everyone’s interests. The most popular section, and the only section with its own room, is romance novels.

Books and More has five back rooms filled wall to wall with books, records, DVDs and more. Paperback books are sold for half their cover price. Cameron Roe

The store’s biggest selling genre has helped Newton continually stand out among other local bookstores by fulfilling a need and appealing to a large fanbase of readers.

“[The section] really keeps things going,” Newton said. “I thought that way I can fill a niche and cater to the romance readers. When I first opened, that was the main focus.”

Although Newton opened her first store with an entire storage shed of books collected over the course of a year, the store now collects its inventory through trade.

“Unless I’m out and buy something I see at a thrift store or garage sale, most of everything comes in through trade,” Newton said. “We do a trade policy where people can trade in books for one-fourth of the cover price in credit towards other books. So I have books coming in all the time.”

In addition to books, the store works with local record dealer Cliff West to offer thousands of vinyl records of every genre, music and movie posters and memorabilia.

West has been a record dealer since the 1990s and teamed up with Newton in 2002.

“It was kind of a joint venture,” West said. “She did her part and I did my part. So I supply all the records and memorabilia to the store and she does the books.”

The vast inventory includes mainly vintage items, with some records dating back to the 1940s. The music and movie posters that line the walls of the shop are also for sale.

The assembly of such a collection is typically through a keen eye and the luck of the draw.

“When you are trying to do memorabilia and records, it comes to you a lot of the times and you don’t even know you’re looking for it,” West said. “It just depends on what you run into and what you think somebody’s going to want. I guess we are like everyone else in the way that we are always looking for that next thing.”

Staff member Kyle Cheatham has worked at the store for almost five years and said working around music and literature every day is still an exciting experience.

“Music is a big part of my life, so all the records here are like a big inspiration for me,” Cheatham said. “I’ve gotten a whole new knowledge of music that I never in a million years would have gotten if not for this store.”

The cost of advertising in the local newspaper or on a billboard can be expensive and may only reach a limited audience, but Newton has found word-of-mouth and social media are quick and powerful tools in spreading the word.

“One thing that has helped me is that I finally got into Facebook, because there is really nowhere in Denton that’s good for advertising that I’ve found,” Newton said. “I feel like that’s really accomplished a lot.”

With over one thousand likes on Facebook and a five-star review on a Google listing, Newton hopes the efforts of personalized customer service has not gone unnoticed.

“I try to remember people’s names and talk to them, and if they ask where something is I take them back and show them,” Newton said. “We greet people when they come in, try to help them out, make recommendations for books and music. That’s the kind of thing we enjoy doing.”

At this time, the future of the bookstore remains uncertain in the face of the current economy, the decline of bookstores and the rise of e-books.

Newton’s goal is to serve the community with a smile until the time for retirement comes.

“There’s nothing else I’d rather do,” she said. “So I just hope that it will continue to grow and flourish so that I can continue to keep doing it, keep the store open and keep serving my customers. I want to keep people happy.”

Featured Image: Books & More owner Debra Newton has owned a book store since 1994. The University location of Books & More is Newtons’s third location. Cameron Roe

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Dionecia Petit

Dionecia Petit

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