Paperback Exchange to move, expand

WICHITA — Paperback Exchange owner Renda Robertson has been keeping an eye out for larger space for her bookstore, and she says she recently found it through a Have You Heard? column.

Robertson saw a news item about New For You – Kids Resale Shop leaving 126 N. West St.

That shop, which is now New 2U Kids, moved to share space at Fit For A Queen’s new building near Central and Hillside.

The bookstore has been in about 1,000 square feet at 455 N. West St. The new center down the street will have 7,000 square feet.

With the extra space, Robertson says she’ll add some new and nonfiction books to her used and fiction offerings.

“It also gives me an opportunity to do what I originally wanted.”

That’s to open a cafe within the store. Robertson hasn’t named it yet, and she’s still going through permitting, so the cafe won’t immediately be open when the store moves.

There also will be a children’s area in the new store along with space for vendors to display crafts, jewelry and art along the store’s walls.

“Here, I have books lining the walls,” Robertson says. “I literally don’t have another square inch in here.”

She says she wants to help other business owners who may not have the marketing budget or time to show what they sell. Robertson says it will give her customers one more reason to stop into the store as well.

Like the cafe, that part may take a little time.

“The books and I will be there Monday,” Robertson says of the new space. “The rest will have to happen once I get in.”

Paperback Exchange remains open, despite what some former regulars think

WICHITA — When former Paperback Exchange owner Kenya Young decided she’d either sell or close her bookstore this summer, she told customers she’d have a big sale and try to sell everything if it were going to close.

She started that sale in July, but many regulars of the store at 455 N. West St. didn’t realize it didn’t end up closing. Renda Robertson, a middle school teacher, bought it.

“We still have some of her regular customers … who are just now hearing the store didn’t close,” Robertson says. “We need to get the word out.”

Initially, Robertson says she didn’t seek publicity because she wanted to make a few changes first, such as adding the ability to take credit cards instead of cash and checks only. She now takes cards and has expanded the store hours to Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and she’d like everyone to know.

Robertson learned the store might close by reading it in Have You Heard?

“The first thought that came to my mind was, ‘Oh, no, we can not have another bookstore close.’

“I just love bookstores. … Especially small bookstores (that) have their own characters.”

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Paperback Exchange to sell or close

WICHITA — After a quarter century in business, Paperback Exchange owner Kenya Young says it’s time to call it quits.

“Well, my husband retired, and I’m old,” she says, laughing.

The store, which buys and sells paperback books, is at 455 N. West St.

“If I can’t sell it, I’m just going to have a big … book sale at the end of July,” Young says.

The store has about 32,000 books, she says.

The advent of electronic readers has “hurt me a little bit,” Young says. “I’ll admit that.”

Her preference is to sell the business so it can remain a bookstore for those who still prefer hard copies over electronic ones.

“It really needs somebody that’s there six days a week,” Young says.

She travels quite a bit as a college volleyball referee. Young says she plans to travel even more once she closes shop.

“It’s just kind of time, I think.”