AREA BOOKSTORES / A perfect way to get through winter

During the winter months, some people like to frolic in the snow, sliding down hills and yelling with excited joy. Others have fun cocooning at home, wrapping themselves in snuggly blankets and reading by the fire with a warm bowl of buttery popcorn and hot cocoa within reach.

For the latter group, there are several great places to get books in the area, from public libraries to bookstores. One such bookstore, Book ReViews, is in Newton. That business can give patrons warm fuzzies in another way because it donates all of its profits to charitable organizations in Harvey County.

Annually, the business gives away anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 to groups, such as the homeless shelter, Salvation Army, Peace Con?nec?tions, Health Ministries, CASA: A Voice for Children, Offender Victim Ministries, HOPE Home Repair, Newton USD 373, Agape Resource Center Inc. and Habitat for Humanity.

The business can do that because what it sells is donated to them.

?Everything is used,? manager Cheryl Major said.

In addition to thousands of fiction and non-fiction books for all ages, the store at 707 N. Main St. sells a variety of other items, such as CDs, DVDs, books on CD, cassette tapes, puzzles, magazines and a variety of vintage books, from children?s to Christian. People donate to them many vintage religious books from the 1800s.

At any given time, about 6,000 books are for sale in the store with another 3,000 in back. The staff also have bargain books, which are sold in the religious room, starting at 25 cents. Those books haven?t sold and need to be moved out.

Books there have a range of prices. For example, paperback fiction books sell for $2 to $7.

?Fiction and detective (books) we sell a whole lot,? Major said.

Major believes in reading and stated why people should do so.

?To increase your knowledge ? for joy,? she said, sitting in the tidy back room. ?People like the comfort of that book instead of Kindle. Reading?s just fun. If you get your kids started young, you can get them to develop a lifetime habit.?

Book ReViews offers plenty of children?s books at to get those kiddos started young.

In order to sell those books, people are needed to sort and sell them, as well as run the show. Major doesn?t do all of this by herself. Her husband, Joe, is the assistant manager, and there are 17 volunteers and eight board members. The store is run by a board of directors, said Major, who is the only paid employee.

?I really love it here, and we?ve really enjoyed working together,? Major said about her and her spouse.?We have great people working here.?

Volunteers are honored during the annual meeting, Major said. People who wish to volunteer can call the store at 316-283-3442.

Patrons, as well as the volunteers, enjoy the store.

?We?ve been told when people come here from out of town this is one of the best used bookstores they?ve seen,? Major said.

This ?best bookstore? was started by a woman named Ruth Unrau, and the shop wasn?t always on Main Street in Newton. Its previous home was in the strip mall on Main Street in North Newton. It was quite small compared to what it is now.

?It?s been in business about 25 years,? Major said.

Before Major was the paid manager of the shop, Vern Preheim was the volunteer manager, and he did that for about eight years.

One of the things Preheim does now is sell books from the store online. In fact, he just sold a large Dick-and-Jane type of book on the Web for $100. The book is called ?Our Big Red Story Book,? and it appears to measure about 2 feet by 3 feet. Its copyright date is 1948.

During the years, the store has taken part in the sidewalk sale and garden show. At the garden show, the business has gardening books there, Major said. The shop also has a storewide sale three to four times a year, as well as having sales on items of which they have an abundance.

The store doesn?t have a real stressful environment.

?We feel like it?s a real relaxed environment,? Major said, adding some people just go to the store and sit and read for a couple of hours.

?That?s OK with us,? Major said.

Anyone wanting to donate books can do so at the back door; the store usually gets a lot of books given to them in the spring, summer and fall. Those donating books can receive a slip of paper for tax purposes stating they gave away books.

?We just want the community to now how much we appreciate their support,? Major said.

Book ReViews is open from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays.

Faith & Life Bookstore

Another place folks can purchase books in Newton is Faith & Life Bookstore, 606 N. Main, which sells a variety of books including inspirational books, fiction, biographies, Anabaptist history, kids and youth books, and Bibles. There?s one whole section for Bibles.

The faith-based store also can order any title, manager Bethany Martin said.

?Fiction is one of our big sellers still,? she said.

Faith & Life also sells other things, including gift items, mugs, Willow Tree collection items, jewelry, scarves, wedding and memorial gifts, greeting cards, kids toys, baby items and stationary.

Faith & Life has been in Newton more than 50 years, Martin said, and it was owned by the Mennonite Church. However, it?s been owned locally for the past eight years and has been at its current location for five.

Martin believes reading enriches lives.

?It?s a great way to learn things,? she said. ?(It broadens) your imagination. You can learn about different places without having to go there.?

Store hours are 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays.

Bluebird Books

One bookstore in Hutch?inson, Bluebird Books, 2 S. Main, has started a new program to thank teachers in area schools.

Through April, the store will be accepting Teacher of the Year nominations. In order to nominate a teacher, just stop by the store. By the end of April, the instructor with the most votes will be awarded a gift card and a Bluebird Books gift basket, complete with classroom reading materials, according to There also is a nomination form at the same website.

The store offers a variety of in-store book clubs, including Young Adult Book Club, Brown Bag Book Club, Spanish Book Club, Blue?stem Bibliophiles Book Club, Mystery Book Club and Cocktail Book Club.

Best-sellers at the store include: ?The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry? by Gabrielle Zevin at No. 1; ?The Alchemist? by Paulo Coelho at No. 2; ?Unbroken? by Lauren Hillenbrand at No. 3; ?Killing Patton? by Bill O?Reilly at No. 4 and ?The Rosie Project? by Graeme Simsion at No. 5.

Store hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call the store at 620-259-6868.


Bookends, located at 123 N. Main in Hutchinson, sells used and antique books, according to

The store has in stock 10,000 to 15,000 books they?re selling in the store and online, co-owner Wes Bartlett said. The other owner is wife Gwen.

?Our storefront is 25 feet wide, and we go some 100 feet to the alley, so we?re narrow and long,? Wes said.

People should read for information and pleasure, Wes said.

The bookstore is competing with electronic media, and staff try to get people to purchase actual books.

?You don?t get the feel of a good book or the smell (with electronic media),? Wes said. ?Books have a smell.?

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.

?We buy current books, both hardback and paperback, antique books (late 1800s and early 1900s) and collectible books,? according to ?If you have books you would like to sell, give us a call or send an email to us, or bring them by the store. For current books, we only pay 25 cents to $1 per book. For antique books, we pay about one-fourth of the selling price on Amazon or AbeBooks.?

For more information, call the store at (620) 259-7511.

by Wendy Nugent


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