Books or Books – Las Vegas, NV
By Lauren Bridges
Books or Books is a used bookstore located in Las Vegas, NV and owned by Kim Henry. Before you even walk into the store you are surrounded by books of every type and the smell is something you have probably only dreamed of. Is that weird…? Just admit it, the smell of books is easily one of the best smells, especially when there are thousands surrounding you.
I got the chance recently to visit Books or Books and talk with Kim for a bit while she worked. This was not just a normal Sunday afternoon for me, this was a complete adventure that I cannot wait to take again. Not only is the store a complete experience on its own, but hearing Kim talk about her journey was completely enthralling.
“It’s hard because people think when you own a bookstore you drink coffee and read books all day, but it’s a lot of work.”
December 2013 is when it all started; this is when Kim Henry decided to leave her corporate America job to follow her dream. The bookstore opened in February 2014, after Kim took several Book Store classes and studied under a master bookman for a few years. Almost exactly four years later, Kim works at the store every weekend while she sells commercial Real Estate during the week. While she is out of the store she has two employees that run Books or Books. These employees are just as passionate about books as one would guess, and they definitely leave an impact on the store. A former employee, who loved Harry Potter as much as I do, is the reason for most of the store’s current décor, Harry Potter everything.
One thing that is really important to Kim is encouraging children to read. Right outside the store there are carts full of children’s books that Kim gives away. Every day each kid can have four free books from the cart, not only are these used books, but Kim buys some herself to donate. On a weekend, she says, they can go through over 100 free books. Not only does she have free books, but Kim encourages kids to explore the store with a “Duck Scavenger Hunt.” There are little rubber ducks hidden throughout the store, so kids can find them and re-hide them for the next kid.
“It helps them to learn they can discover anything, anywhere in a bookstore.”
I asked Kim what the most popular genre in her store is right now, in which she said speculative fiction. Speculative fiction includes science fiction, fantasy, dark horror, etc. While I was in the store, there were multiple people who were searching for these types of books, and Kim knew exactly where to lead them. Another genre Kim says will always be popular are classics. If I did not already know how much Kim loved her books, when she showed me her classics, I understood. Not only is there a designated section in the store, like every other genre, but she keeps her expensive (and beautiful) classic collection behind her work station. These books are hundreds of dollars, and any book lover would probably drool over them.
Although Kim owns a book store and loves her print books, she is no stranger to technology. The more expensive books she has set up to sell on Amazon, where they do better. Believe it or not, she also loves her eBooks, this I was a little shocked to hear. She says that they are more convenient for her to read when out and about running errands. She also listens to audio books when in the car, and thinks they are great for people who are not big fans of reading.
“Every successful business keeps reinventing itself to grow.”
This is about the time where I spotted Kim’s dog curled up with his teddy bear under her desk and fell even more in love with the store than I already was.