By Gus Herrera
The Book Rack in Arcadia strives to be a haven for local readers, specializing in interacting with the community and providing the customer service and reader-friendly environment that you cannot find shopping online or through an app. Owner Karen Kropp, an avid reader, truly has a passion for books. Prior to owning the store, Kropp said that she worked at The Book Rack for almost 10 years, “I shopped there because I always read, it was a place to take my books … and there was a sign in the window one day … ‘help wanted’ … so I went in,” and the rest is history.
Despite the many difficulties that today’s market may present for a used bookstore, The Book Rack has been a staple in area for more than 30 years by maintaining a clientele of adults who are passionate about their reading and by reaching out to the area’s youth. Kropp describes some of the challenges, “with Kindle and Amazon it has become different selling. People really have to love to read and want hold a book. It is sometimes difficult in this age of ‘I want it right now,’ and ‘oh I can just push this button and it will show up on my kindle.’”
The store thrives off of its trade-in program, through which customers receive discounts and the store consistently builds its inventory. Furthermore, the store is able to gauge interest in which genres are trending amongst its readers, in addition to being introduced to new niche-genres and specific reads they otherwise may not know about.
With an emphasis on promoting the wonders of reading to children, Kropp states that the store tries its best to do “anything to get kids to read, because if you can read, you can learn anything. You can travel the world and never have to leave your chair and you can have your cup of coffee or your coke or whatever you desire. You can read inside, you can read outside, you can take it with you wherever you go.” The store works with the area’s schools, advertising during local events and always maintaining inventory relevant to students. Kropp states, “We try to keep the books on our shelves that the young people need for their classes, with exception to textbooks.” The Book Rack holds also holds a summer sale for kids from June 1 until the end of August, during which all children’s books are 50 percent off.
Located at 204 S. First Ave, The Book Rack carries thousands of new and used books. When asked how many books are in the store Kropp chuckled and responded, “I couldn’t even start to count, thousands in store and just as many in storage.” The store is organized by genre; each section has seating so that you may come in and comfortably enjoy taking your time in making your selection.
A majority of their catalog is available on the store’s website, www.BookRackArcadia.com, but if you call (626) 446 2525, Kropp or any of the store’s associates will gladly assist in looking up a specific title, author, or genre.