Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The Book Rack - Cape Girardeau, MO

The Book Rack, Cape Girardeau, MO

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I sometimes imagine myself the doctor checking on patients as I travel the country visiting bookstores.  How is the health of the bookstore?  I check all the vitals; pulse, blood pressure, temp, oxygen, blood work, etc.  I'm happy to say that the vitals for The Book Rack are off the charts.  A happy, well-adjusted, well-sustained and supported mature bookstore into its 6th decade of service to the Cape Girardeau area.  

John H. is the 2nd owner of The Book Rack, buying the business from his parents in 1997, 20 years after it started.  They moved to their current location in 2004 and it has been all systems go ever since.  A neatly, well-organized space that offers new and used books.  The original business was strictly used books but the store has found success with the new books offered at a 20% off discount.  Customers receive store credit for the books they bring in and the store is able to keep track of books sold and returned for customers to aid the process.  They also have all those used books on an inventory so they know exactly what's in the store.  Additionally, they're beginning to draw more customers from the SE Missouri University community, bringing a younger demographic into the store.  Book Rack draws customers from a surrounding 100 mile radius as well as many who come here for the excellent medical center of the region.  Yet, for as long as The Book Rack has been here there are still some who don't know about it (hey regulars, bring a friend or two who've never been here on your next visit).  

There are two outliers here that have been super for business.  One, they've managed to stay open for business during the pandemic, a really big deal since many others could not.  And secondly, their success has been due to an inventory of books and little else.  Add to that a reasonable lease, really easy and free parking, and a convenient location.  All these factors contribute to the strong foundation that guides the store's sustained success.  

They offer excellent customer service like delivery to nursing homes (way to go Jennifer!) and some online orders.  But, why order online when you can go to the store and meet John and Jennifer, one of the booksellers?  These two are as enthusiastic as any and love talking books.  This is what you newbies are going to find out when you make your first visit to this iconic Cape Girardeau bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

 JUST FINISHED:  True Grit, Charles Portis.  I never saw the movie but this book was great.  Story of a smart 14-year old girl who decides to embark on a journey to find and seek revenge on her father's murder.  She needs to travel into Indian territory but she needs to find help.  A tale of the old west that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Family Next Door, John Glatt.    

Store exterior. 

Look for bargains before you walk through the door. 

The store's creative logo on the front door. 

An easy decision. 

View looking into the store from the front entrance. 

Beautiful table display just inside. 

View looking to the right from the front entrance. 

ALWAYS ask about gift cards. 

Something I find in many bookstores is artwork from beloved customers. 

Looking directly to the left from the front entrance. 

Ask about some of the vintage and collectible editions they offer in this case near the front of the store. 

Unique book clocks. 

Puzzles have sold well and they still have some. 

A few of the Harvard Classics available. 

Lots of browsing to do along this wall on the left side of the store. 

These are some of the popular books on TikTok.  I didn't know this was a thing. 

After you get done browsing the wall on the left side you'll have to go and browse the wall on the right side. 

One of the store's several book nooks. 

This is a middle room of classics that you'll pass by on your way to the children's room in the back. 

James Clavell fans should pay the store a visit. 

Partial view of the children's area.

Beautifully done. 

An overview of the back room. 

Overview of the store from the back looking toward the front entrance. 

With John on the left, the fine owner at The Book Rack.  Thanks for a great visit. 

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