A Novel Approach

Owner Lynn Vorys and volunteer Harry Hankla. Photo by Tim Robison.

Owner Lynn Vorys and volunteer Harry Hankla. Photo by Tim Robison.

No one will dispute that reading is good for you, but Books for Good in Fletcher takes a collective stance on the notion. The all-volunteer-staffed store combines nonprofit charity support with a traditional used-bookstore format.

Donors of books, CDs, and DVDs get to specify which local charity will receive the net proceeds when those items are sold. (There are more than 50 groups, including food pantries, animal-rescue foundations, and programs benefiting children.) The store also assists local charities by providing a place where they can sell book donations they receive.

Founding owner Lynn Vorys was raised in a family of book lovers and readers, and she started working at her local public library when she was 12.

“My father was a book collector,” Vorys says, “and he also taught me about the commercial value of books.” Later in life, she became concerned about the vast numbers of perfectly good books that are discarded every year, and so she launched her concept. Her daughter was the first person to donate books, and the first sale took place last August.

Today the store, which also offers online sales, boasts an inventory of more than 45,000 titles, and about 35,000 of those were donated. Plants and gardening books are two of the bestselling categories, especially this time of year. But Vorys states unequivocally that Westerns are by far the most requested fiction genre. Books of local history and the Civil War are also popular.

Occasionally, the store receives particularly interesting or unusual finds, too.

“One of our charities donated a pallet of books that were to be discarded. Within that donation was a medical-coding book that we sold online for $295,” she reveals. “We also had a family Bible donated by another charity. One of our volunteers recognized the sentimental value, and another of our volunteers offered to try to find the family.”

On the very first phone call, she says, “we located a family member who was delighted that we had taken the time to return it.”

Yet another donation from a local church was a circa-1917 first printing of His Family by author Ernest Poole, about a widower father struggling to raise three daughters during the chaotic social changes of the early 19th century. At last check, that rare book was still available — the first novel to win the Pulitzer Prize.

Books for Good is located 50 Heritage Park Drive in Fletcher. 828-989-4655. Booksforgoodinc.com

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