BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — With a huge assortment of titles, Encore Books can satisfy readers of any age.
Located on the first floor of a corner space in the Colonial Village Plaza in Toledo, the store boasts over 100,000 titles in genres that include historical fiction, romance, politics, memoirs, humor, self-help, mystery, thriller, children’s and young adult.
Featuring everything from hard-to-find titles to books by such prolific authors as Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell, Ronan Farrow and Dr. Seuss, the store is chock full of great finds. For customers, the broad selection also makes it easy to get swept away browsing the endless titles on hand.
“When I go in there, I can spend hours looking through stuff,” said Dave Mikolajazak, of Toledo, who stops by several times a month to peruse the shelves.
Between the low-cost purchases – usually half off what you would typically pay for a new book – along with the service, Mikolajazak enjoys the shopping experience.
“Sometimes, I am looking for something specific and they (the staff) will call me and tell me they found it or somebody brought it in, so there is a good personal touch that they have,” he said.
While he is drawn to Christian fiction as well as books on touring national parks and history, Mikolajazak has found all sorts of titles that he would not find in a traditional bookstore. For example, he once purchased a large, hardcover book on the history of the Beatles for $10.00 that he later saw in an antique store for $150.
“That was cool – so you do find your gems there, too,” he said.
In 2004, owner Susan Wyper opened Encore Books in a 1,500-square-foot space, but demand grew quickly, prompting her to move to her current location – a 7,200-square-foot space just a few doors down. She credits her staff with managing the inventory and providing excellent customer service.
“I am fortunate to have a great staff. Each brings their own strength to the store, so anything you ask, we probably have someone who knows about it,” she said.
The store also carries large-print, books on CD and DVDs.
Elizabeth Rodgers, of Maumee, is a mother of three kids under age 3, so when an opportunity presents itself, she makes quick trips to the store.
“I don’t get a ton of time to come here, but when I do, I take it,” she said. “I love fiction, young adult and adult, and they have a good selection. You can find so many more random books and old books compared to a regular bookstore.”
Mike Shank, of Toledo, has been a regular shopper for the past five years – stopping into the store about once a week.
“I like mysteries, and I like to read books in order by an author and they usually have what I want,” he said. “The people in there are nice, knowledgeable and very helpful.”
According to Wyper, much of the inventory on hand comes from individuals dropping off books, and new titles arrive daily. Some are practically brand new and there is a large room with over 13,000 hardcover fiction novels. Those dropping off books may receive store credit on future purchases in the store.
Specials are featured throughout the year, and a sidewalk sale takes place each spring with 25-cent paperback novels and $1.00 hardcover books. The store also hopes to host a book fair featuring self-published authors later this year.
Currently, the store is running a sale on cookbooks and craft books, which are popular during the winter months. In addition, grab-and-go bags of paperbacks are available for $2.00. The brown paper bags contain five paperback novels from various authors that customers can pick up and go. Teacher and military discounts are also available.
For Wyper, a longstanding love of reading drew her to the business of books. She and her husband routinely shopped at used book stores in Florida, where they spend winter months. It was on return trips to Ohio that she realized the Toledo area lacked such stores, and that is what motivated her to open the shop. Fellow used book store owner John Scheuer from A Novel Idea – a store that was located on Monroe Street but is now closed – helped her get up and running.
“I just love books, even the books I’m not going to read. I just like to just thumb through them because for me, it’s just the thrill to find out what is being written about,” she said. “My mother was a reader. She always had a book in her hand, so I think I followed her.”
Encore Books is located at 4400 Heatherdowns Blvd., which is in the Colonial Village Plaza at the corner of Heatherdowns Boulevard and Key Street in Toledo.
Store hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
For information, please call (419) 389-1155 or visit online at https://www.encorebookstol.com/.