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Cornelius News

Shelf awareness

Melinda Humphreys with Mayor Woody Washam (she is holding the ceremonial scissors) and friends at a chamber ribbon-cutting

By Dave Yochum. Entrepreneurs aren’t always bookish types, but Melinda Humphreys is. The owner of Walls of Books in the Shops on the Green, taught high school English in Virginia for seven years but before that she was a bookseller with Barnes & Noble.

The Antiquity resident, who hit the books at Ohio University, is a first-time entrepreneur and likes it. A Walls of Books franchise requires an investment ranging from around $78,000 to $170,000; the franchise fee, according to Entrepreneur magazine, is $16,000.

The Walls of Books business model trades books for store credit. A customer can bring in books, Humphreys will evaluate them, and give store credit for those they can keep. Any book purchased there can be traded back in for 50 percent of the purchase price in store credit as long as the yellow price sticker remains on the back of the book.

About 10 percent of the inventory is new—and kept separate from the used inventory.

Almost all genres are represented. “Fiction is our biggest seller, but we have everything from art, to biography, business, history, and travel. We also have a very good selection of Christian titles that have been quite popular,” says Humphreys

In a digital age, she doesn’t sell e-books and instead quotes British comedian Stephen Fry: “Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.”

Says Humphreys: “I can’t think of a better way to put it.”