The interior of Walls of Books (910 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 504-305-5869; www.gottwalsbooks.com) reveals a veritable land mass of new and used novels, enclosed by hunter green partitions. Elliott and Lisa Sarpy opened the Gottwals Books franchise two years ago in a stretch of Kenner that features a lot of big-box chains, but business has remained strong because of their buyback and swapping policies.
"The key is the trade-in value," Elliott says.
Customers can reserve books for in-store pickup and place special orders. The store carries volumes ranging from classics to home-school textbooks, all at competitive prices. Walls of Books also stocks New Orleans-themed histories, children's books and cookbooks. Melissa & Doug educational toys are available. The sets make learning fun for kids and include blocks, reusable sticker books and plush handbag sets complete with toy cell phones for kids on the go. The Sarpys expect those toys to sell fast during the holiday season.
Walls of Books has an inventory of new, contemporary bestsellers, but patrons mostly will find thumbed-through paperbacks with bent spines lining the shelves. Employees carefully inspect used books for flaws and only accept those in like-new condition, Elliott says.
Customers may trade used books from other sellers for a 25 percent credit.
"You can trade in books that you buy from this store for a 50 percent store credit on future purchases of used books," Elliott says. "We also pay cash for current textbooks that are one to two years old."