As a rule, I don’t shop over Thanksgiving weekend but this year I made an exception on Small Business Saturday. I braved the traffic and went to one of Fargo’s few locally owned secondhand bookstores, Books at a Fifth. It’s located in the Village West strip mall, across the street from West Acres and behind Taco Bell.
As you might infer from the name of the shop, they sell their books at one fifth of the retail cost. That’s right – at an 80% discount. Their inventory comes mostly from donations, but they also trade for in-store credit. So, if you are looking to get rid of some old books, they are always taking donations.
The shop itself is really tiny, but it has a nice, homey feel. There are no unnecessary decorations, just shelves full of books. The selection is actually pretty decent. There is a little bit of everything, from sci-fi to Christian fiction to memoirs to a whole shelf full of “paranormal romance.” April, one of the owners, was there when I was shopping. She was a really sweet lady, and was really helpful when I had questions. She explained a program they have called Book Buck$, where you get $5 in store credit for every $25 that you spend. That might seem like a lot to spend on books, but you can get a lot of books there for $25.
The downside of secondhand bookstores is that the inventory can be a little eclectic. If you go in looking for best sellers or new releases, you will be disappointed. Specific authors or series might be problematic as well, since they might not have received the full series or complete works of that author. There’s a lot to dig through in the shop, but there are quite a few treasures amongst the bookshelves. I left the store with four new books and my wallet only $12 lighter. If you stop in, be aware that they only accept cash or checks. But next time you’re at the mall, or just have some time to kill, stop in and explore Books at a Fifth and see what treasures you can find in the shelves.
Meg Hanna ’15 is a Vocal Music Education major from West Fargo, ND. She is a member of the Concordia Chapel Choir and a self-proclaimed “music nerd.” With her degree, she hopes to conduct choir at either the high school or college level.