One of the pleasures of poking around in a used-book store is finding unexpected treasures in out-of-the-way places. Multiply that by about 50,000 and you'll have an idea of how Scott Givens feels.
Givens, who owns Browsers' Bookstore in Corvallis, bought the Albany Book Co. from longtime owner Carl Chrisco and reopened it under the Browsers' name Sept. 2. The new owner has spent the weeks since then trying to figure out just what he's gotten his hands on.
"The store has always been famous for its very large amount of books piled up on the counter, behind the counter, on the floor - things like that," Givens said.
"All I've been doing is moving books off the floor and into boxes. I figure I've got 1,000 boxes of books or more in storage that have got to be gone through and priced and put on the shelves."
On reflection, he decided it's closer to 1,200 boxes. At about 40 books per box, that adds up to nearly 50,000 volumes - in addition to what was on the shelves. And how many books was that?
"We don't really know," Givens admitted. "It's between 50,000 and 150,000, depending on who you ask."
Many of those books are paperbacks, but there's also a strong military section.
"Carl has been known for that," Givens said. "We're definitely going to keep that section well-stocked."
For now, the overstock is going into a separate building adjacent to the main store. But as the books get sorted and priced, Givens plans to refit more space for retail display.
"Eventually, the store will probably be about 50 percent larger than it currently is," he said.
The Corvallis Browsers', which opened in 2001 across the street from the Benton County Courthouse, will remain in business, Givens said. It's more of a general-interest bookstore than the Albany location, and it has recently branched into fine bookbinding and repair under Melanie Rolka.
With two stores to run, Givens is giving more hours to some of his six employees, many of whom are part-timers, and is looking to staff up a little more.
"We're going to be probably taking on at least one more person," he said.
The Book Bin's decision to close its Albany location in July left the city with just two used-book stores, Albany Book Co. and No Garbage Books (where Givens worked before starting his own business). Givens had already begun discussions about buying Albany Book Co. when the closure was announced, but The Book Bin's pullout made the decision easier, he said.
"It did make me more willing to move forward with this purchase," he said.
Bennett Hall is the business editor for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at 758-9529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT: Browsers' Bookstore
WHERE: 1425 Pacific Blvd. S.E.
HOURS: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday