Book Lover’s Warehouse in Johnson City, Tennessee, is perhaps the most appropriately named bookstore I’ve yet to find on my journey.
The warehouse-sized store is large enough to be an antique mall, and in some ways perhaps it is. In addition to a wide variety of used (and some new) books of all genres and ages, the massive space is also chock full of records, CDs, DVDs, cassettes, artwork, antiques, dolls, and other knickknacks.
The shop’s Facebook page refers to it as not your average bookstore — the kind of place where you never know what you might find when you come in. I can attest to the truth of that statement. There are new books, there are vintage books, and there are plenty in between. Row after row, aisle after aisle, nook after cranny, there are thousands of books (and albums and comics and movies and more) inside the space. There were several seemingly regular customers milling about the shop during my visit, perched on one of the many stools peppered throughout the aisles, reviewing their selections. The shop’s trade-in policy keeps local customers coming back frequently.
A true “mom and pop” shop, Book Lover’s Warehouse was established in the early 2000s by Bob and Mary Lou Coletti in a shopping center space that used to house a dollar store. Bob, a former truck driver who dealt in antiques, always found the book sections of antique shops especially interesting and began buying up books here and there. Before long, he’d acquired 10,000. Once the store opened, that 10,000 eventually grew to the roughly 300,000 titles currently in the inventory. Anywhere from 10 to 40 boxes of books come in each day from donations and trade-ins.
In addition to the liberal trade-in policy, the shop offers a 20 percent discount for teachers, homeschoolers, veterans, and students – just let the cashier know if you qualify.
Book Lover’s Warehouse is located at 3302 West Market Street, Johnson City, Tennessee. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.