Nonprofit sells books at Tempe Public Library - and on Amazon - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Nonprofit sells books at Tempe Public Library - and on Amazon

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Posted: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 4:17 pm | Updated: 12:35 am, Thu Sep 22, 2011.

Children and adults of every age filter in to peruse or skim the books that fill shelves in a corner of the first floor of the Tempe Public Library. But instead of being borrowed, these books are meant to be bought.

With stacks of books towering in a back room, The Friends of Tempe Library has expanded its non-profit business from solely selling books at the library to selling online at Amazon.

"It's growing and it's a steady level of additional income," bookstore manager Jolene Gosling said of the Amazon sales.

What was once a suggestion by a former manager of the bookstore, the online sales are now bringing in additional revenue for the non-profit, Gosling said.

The Friends of Tempe Public Library is a non-profit that provides additional funding to library programs beyond what is allocated by city funding, according to the organization's website. The group seeks to promote literacy at every age.

Classics and contemporary, paperback and hardback, fiction and non-fiction, from romance to mystery to self-help, The Friends of Tempe Public Library has every type of book available at the library or online at Amazon.

"The types really are a reflection of the donations," Gosling said.

While the store does not seek to present itself as a full service bookstore, there is bound to be something of interest for everyone, Gosling said.

The donations come from local members of the community or are discarded books from the Tempe library, Gosling said.

For cents on the dollar, customers can buy used books. Prices range as low as 50 cents for used paperbacks, to a few dollars for select hardcover books.

"Price points of 50 cents, a dollar or two dollars have found a nice niche," Gosling said. "But it's not about the profits; our first priority is to serve the community."

Online prices are a little higher at predominantly $3, but considering new or other used prices, that price remains competitive.

Gosling noted which countries many of the international books are being purchased from.

"A lot of book sales are from Australia, Korea and Canada," Gosling said. "It's a fun thing we discovered."

The change started October of last year, when the group began selling on Amazon, said Gosling.

The Friends of Tempe Public Library runs the bookstore and a café, both of which are inside the library on the ground floor, as well as the online sales at Amazon. There are about 40 volunteers for the nonprofit who staff the store and help organize the books. Proceeds from bookstore and café sales go directly to the nonprofit.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Rebecca Bond at (480) 350-5490 or visit

Donations can be made at the bookstore inside the Tempe library, or at drop boxes at the Safeway grocery store at McClintock Drive and Elliot Road or the Bashas grocery at McClintock Drive and Southern Avenue. The nonprofit accepts hardback and paperback fiction, non-fiction and classics, current magazines, audiotapes, CDs, DVDs and videos.

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