By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher | Gwinnett and all of Atlanta on Saturday will have a new way to buy high quality used books — by the pound!
The book store’s name is “Books by the Pound,” a new concept opening Saturday in Lawrenceville at 860 Georgia Highway 120, across from Fairview Presbyterian Church, near the intersection of Georgia Highway 316. The new retail idea will also sell used video games, music CDs and boxed sets of television shows….all at tremendous discounts.
Justin Krewatch of Suwanee, founder of the idea, who has three partners, says the pricing is designed to be at least half what competitors of used items charge.
More than 70,000 titles are to be available initially, in 38 categories of books and games. And if after three months the concept takes off, the owners are anticipating eventually stocking 250,000 titles at this first location. The parent company, four year old Amerfolio LLC of Suwanee, which moved to Suwanee from Charleston, S.C. in 2014, already fulfills used books online through many third party web sites, including Amazon, Book World, ABE Books and other similar sites. Its online sales are approximately $3 million annually.
When you walk into the 20,000 square foot site (formerly a Staples), all you see is folding table-after-folding table (230 of them) loaded with books with the spine up. Customers may feel overwhelmed. Carts are available for them to load their choice books. “Eventually we plan shelves, so we can add more books,” he says.
While the company will sell books, it will also buy books—for store credit. Teachers as well as active and retired military receive 10 percent off all purchases, with ID.
The company buys and processes 90,000 used books a week. It then sorts each individual book through a sophisticated computerized program, which sends each book to different segments for placement in the retail or wholesale sites.
The titles are current, but the prices are a fraction of retail: $3.99/pound for the first three pounds, $2.99/pound for the next five pounds and $1.99/pound for the rest.
Krewatch is married with four children, and originally from Mount Pleasant, S.C. He is a graduate of William and Mary College, and was attending the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. when he got the idea to re-sell books. “I saw several copies of a theological textbook selling for $4.99, and I bought them all, knowing that those textbooks were selling for $25 or more. I put a notice on the bulletin board and immediately sold them. That’s when I figured I was on to something.”
He came to feel that “used books were too expensive for the public, and should be more affordable. We’ve been working on this concept for several years, and officially open on Saturday.”
CEO of Amerifolio is Kevin Shaw of Snellville, who is married and has three children. He quips: “Since I am a Georgia Tech engineer, books are new to me.”
Shaw said their firm has about 40 total employees, most in the processing center in Suwanee. “We process about two truckloads a week. Sometimes we find a first edition. And we also find books autographed by famous people, both going to the auction sites.”
Another location on Riverside Drive, with four employees, handles fulfillment for online book sites, processing on an average day 1,000-2,000 books.
The other principal investor is Todd Harrison of Lawrenceville, of PureFun, which distributes items to child care centers. Another owner is Chris Williams of Louisville, Ky., who works remotely, finding suppliers on the wholesale market.
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