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Recycled reading

Connie Steiert

There’s something cozy and comforting even intriguing about a used bookstore. It’s a place where you can not only find old favorites, but surprising discoveries lurk around every bookshelf.&quotYou never know what you’re going to find in a used bookstore,&quot said Cheryl Bottomley-Seivert, partner in Aunt Betty’s Recycled Reading store in Eagle. &quotIn a new store you always know it is filled with bestsellers. Used bookstores have quirky stuff, things you can’t find elsewhere.&quotAunt Betty’s is filled wall to wall (and most places in-between) with a wide array of subjects, authors and genres. Located in a charming house on Eagle’s Broadway Avenue, Aunt Betty’s friendly manager and partner, Lois Bottomley (Bottomley-Seivert’s mother), will bring you a fresh cup of coffee or tea while you snuggle up at a sunny table to peruse just about any topic you desire. And, if you decide to purchase a book, the price is half of what you pay in new bookstores.Bottomley-Seivert has always loved books. As a child, her father, Fred Bottomley, regularly took little Cheryl to bookstores and libraries on weekends. In fact, the Bottomleys are all avid readers.&quotWe’re a book family,&quot says Bottomley.It is not surprising that Cheryl grew up cherishing a dream of one day owning her own bookstore.&quotI’d always wanted to have my own business,&quot says Bottomley-Seivert. &quotI’d dreamed of having a bookstore for a long time.&quotWhen her mother found herself alone after her father’s death in 1997, Bottomley-Seivert asked if she would be interested in moving from Michigan to Eagle County and managing a bookstore if she and her husband, William Seivert, opened one. (Bottomley-Seivert is aproducer/editor at EEF Productions.) Bottomley agreed, bringing with her some 13,000 used books she collected on the way.Aunt Betty’s is now the only used bookstore for miles around (one in Glenwood Springs closed not long ago.)The startup money for the new venture came from seed money a dear and caring aunt Aunt Betty had put away for Cheryl and each of her two sisters before she passed away. Hence the name Aunt Betty’s.Bottomley-Seivert has been in countless bookstores during her lifetime, including numerous used bookstores. Along the way, she noted what she liked and didn’t like.&quotI always liked used bookstores more than new ones. They are more interesting, more fun and less expensive,&quot she says. &quotI wanted my store to be a more friendly, homey atmosphere. That’s why I liked having it in the house rather than in a storefront place.&quotAnd that is exactly the sort of place you will find at Aunt Betty’s Recycled Reading. With wide windows, a kitchen in the back and a fireplace in the front, Aunt Betty’s has a cozy ambiance that invites you to stay awhile and browse, or to huddle over a book on a cold wintry day.Aunt Betty’s carries just about every type of book you could want and they are priced at half of the published price. There are mysteries and children’s books, science fiction and fantasy, historical and regular romance, historical fiction, Native Americanfiction and horror all grouped by genre and listed alphabetically by author. In a back room, there are also shelves of non-fiction books, such as biographies, sports books, books on computers, self-help and family books, and textbooks. You can find books on how to start up a business or improve your finances, health and exercise books, religious and inspirational books, and science and nature books.&quotWe have a little of everything here,&quot says Bottomley. &quotI can’t think of anything we don’t have,&quot except, maybe books on straw-built houses. But there are plenty of home improvement/building books.Aunt Betty’s no longer purchases its used books. It has a trade program, where customers can drop off books and receive trade-in value for the books. For instance, a paperback retailing for $8 willbe sold at Aunt Betty’s for $4 and the trader will receive half of that shelf price, or $2. Hardback books are often more in trade value.Aunt Betty’s has more than 325 customers who regularly take advantage of the trading program, and another 200 who use it occasionally. &quotThey are more interesting, more fun and less expensive.&quotAlmost once a day someone from walk-in customers to people who travel miles to reach Aunt Betty’s tells Bottomley how glad they are the store is there. No doubt Bottomley’s friendly, helpful manner is part of the reason.&quotI like meeting people,&quot she says. &quotAnd, I like having books around.&quotIn addition to great prices and a great selection, Aunt Betty’s also features specials every once and a while, such as the &quotbuy one, get one free&quot special on romance books through February. Every Tuesday, the store hosts &quot2 For Tuesday,&quot where customers can buytwo books and get one free. There is also the Bookworm Club for kids, where children receive one free book for every 10 purchased, and prizes for every two punch cards completed.&quotIt’s something to encourage kids to read,&quot explains Bottomley-Seivert. &quotThey like to pick out their own books and are very excited when they get a free prize.&quotIf you can’t make it to Aunt Betty’s Recycled Reading in Eagle, you can shop online by visiting either: http://www.hometown.aol.com/recyread or http://www.abebooks.com. Or call (970) 328-1340.


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