Books by the Pound: light reading costs less

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Books by the Pound: light reading costs less

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Books by the Pound opened its doors last month as an outlet for the surplus books in the inventory of a quartet of online booksellers. Photo: contributed/

If you’re looking for some heavy reading at a light cost, a new shop opened its doors in Lawrenceville last month that allows shoppers to pay for their books the same way they pay for their vegetables.

So far the scales have tipped in favor of Books by the Pound.

Co-owner Cris Williams and his partner have been selling used books online and expanding their business for years. “We have more books than we know what to do with,” said Williams. “You can only put so many copies of the same title online. We thought maybe there’s another way to get them to the public at a price they can afford.”

“One thing led to another,” said Williams, who lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He joined forces with two Atlanta booksellers and scouted brick-and-mortar store.locations. “We have wanted to do a bookstore for a long time, just the timing wasn’t right.”

Justin Kewatch, co-owner of Books by the Pound in Lawrenceville, uses one of the analog scales scattered around the premises. The scales give customers a chance to know how much their purcchase will weigh at the digital scales up front. Photo: contributed The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In February Williams, with partners Justin Krewatch, Kevin Shaw and Todd Harrison, opened a 20,000-square-foot facility in a former Staples store, which has plenty of room for their inventory of 70,000 used volumes.

Instead of shelving, most of the books are spread out on tables, in rough alphabetical order. You’ll find all the As piled up together, but you might not find someone to answer the phone and say whether a particular book is in stock. In fact, early this week the store didn’t have a phone, though it does list a telephone number on its website, www.booksbythepound.com/

Said Williams, “We’re in the process of putting in an answering system.”

Williams said his books come from his regular sources, though he and his partners expect to acquire an increasing percentage of their books from customers, as trade-ins for store credit.

Books are sold on a sliding scale: the first three pounds are $3.99 a pound; the next five pounds will cost $2.99 a pound; after that books are $1.99 a pound.

Media is priced differently: at $5.99 for a boxed set, $4.99 per game, $3.99 for a Blu-ray disc, $2.99 per DVD, and $1.99 a compact disc.

“It’s like the book sale that never ends,” said Williams. “This has been a wonderful experience so far, much more fun than I ever anticipated.”

Books by the Pound is at 860 Duluth Highway near the intersection of Hwy 120 and 316. Information: www.booksbythepound.com/

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