Avid readers in the North Tampa area that don't want to pay full-price for a book have had access to a more cost-effective option for over 30 years: Book Swap of Carrollwood.
"Book Swap of Carrollwood has been part of the North Tampa community since 1984," says the store's owner, Cynthia Floyd. "We are an independent bookstore that sells books of all genres (new and used), including audio books, children and non-fiction. We give customers store credit for books we can use, and they can use 50% towards a used book & 30% towards a new book."
The store accepts certain types of new and gently used books (including CD audio books) that are in good, clean condition and were stored properly. Although cash is not given for swaps, the store credit that customers are given never expires, and has no limit. While the store's wish list changes on an almost daily basis, they are usually in need of titles that were released within the past three months, books found on school reading lists, and philosophy books. They also offer a buyback program for school textbooks in good condition.
Carrollwood Book Swap carries a variety of genres including paperback fiction in suspense, mystery, romance, science fiction and fantasy, as well as non-fiction titles in history, self-help, and philosophy, and children's books for all ages. According to Floyd, the store is best known for its "prices, selection, and customer service." The helpful staff will help customers locate hard-to-find books, and a large percentage of the store's new book purchases are special orders for customers.
The store hosts its own monthly Book Swap Book Club, which gives all new members a 20% discount on club picks. Book signings and author greetings are also held at the store, as well as a "Girls Night In" ever Thursday that includes refreshments and adult coloring books. "We also have themed parties for literature holidays and celebrations," says Floyd.
According to the store's website, business has dwindled a bit in recent years, and Floyd is depending upon customer donations to keep the business operating. The payoff, other than store credit, is the enjoyment and expanded knowledge that reading brings. "Books open a world that we cannot visit or sometimes even imagine," she says. "Books allow us to escape, give us the power of knowledge, and are a resource for endless information on anything you can think of."