Read all about it
Local book store stateís largest independent
By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer
Special to the community! Extra! Extra!
Read all About It, the bookstore, is now the largest
independent book store in Idaho, thanks to a recent move across the hall
in the building it occupies on Main Street in Hailey.
Bryan Gardner, proprietor of Read All
About It in Hailey, expanded his business into largest independent book
store in Idaho. Express photo by David N. Seelig
That designation is based on three criteria, said
proprietor Bryan Gardner. The first is square footage, then linear space
and finally number of titles. Gardner said he is already the largest by
the first two standards, and as soon as the upstairs of the new space is
finished, he will be carrying more titles than any other independent in
The store now measures 1,200 square feet downstairs and
1,500 square feet upstairs in what will be known as the Childrenís Loft.
It will carry, besides books, stationary and cards, videos, music,
educational games and toys, and cognitive items including a slightly
hush-hush "launch of a new venture," he said.
Gardner opened Read all About It in 1995. He had moved
here the year before from Oklahoma to manage the now defunct Main Street
BookCafť, in Ketchum.
Read All About It, at first, was a mere 253 square feet.
Later it was expanded to 723 square feet.
"The first store was a reaction, [to the BookCafe
closing]" Gardner said. "It wasnít planned to have it that
Currently, the store carries a variety of items from all
kinds of books, to maps, toys, journals, games, sealing wax, crystals,
bags, cards, stationary and papers.
Competition for local book stores comes from the Internet
and Costco, Target and Barnes & Noble, all in Twin Falls, and even
"Itís a very unique challenge," he said,
"to sell the same homogeneous product. The challenge lies in the
product mix, customer service, willingness to go the extra mile and
Fortunately, he acknowledges that the "general public
is aware that if you donít support something, it disappears."
Besides running and expanding the store, overseeing three
school book fairs each year, (two for Hailey Elementary and one for
Bellevue), Gardner is busy running Web site fulfillment. "Itís been
growing for me tremendously," he said. For instance, "We do only
cookbooks for four Web sites."
One might order Cucina Simpatica: Robust Trattoria
Cooking, for example, from a Web site, and without being aware of it
actually receive it from Read All About It.
As for trends in book stores, more seems to be more. Until
recently, Harry Potter and off-spring (games, puzzles, new books,
etc.) were still the biggest sellers. Gardner says that other than
seasonal sellers such as travel books during slack, the hot new thing will
be the Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan. The main character is
10 years old and it involves spiders. Sounds promising.
Gardner has carved quite a niche for himself in the past
six years. Schools outside of the valley, including those in Carey,
Fairfield and Richfield, have approached him to run their book fairs for
them, which benefit the school libraries.
"My plate is full," he said modestly.