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Shop Talk: Paperback Book Exchange celebrates 50 years of business


Owner of the Paperback Book Exchange Judy Ostrander gets a kiss from her dog Fauzey Bare while in the store on March 16.

Owner: Judy Ostrander

Address:  1811 S Mission St. Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Phone: (989) 772-5473  

Website: Facebook /

Anyone walking into Paperback Book Exchange will be greeted at the door by the smell of books and a little Pomeranian-Chihuahua named Fauzey Bare. 

Owner Judy Ostrander and her little sidekick Fauzey Bare, the store's sole employees, aim to create an easy-going environment. 

To the outside eye, the store appears to be small, however — but once inside the store, the books are endless. From romance to historical fiction, to jigsaw puzzles, audio books and a small selection of DVDs, there is a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. 

How would you describe the atmosphere here?

Friendly — when someone comes in and you know they’re in a bad mood, (Fauzey Bare) goes and greets them. You know sometimes you’re in a crappy mood and (seeing a dog) just changes it.

How long have you been in business?

I bought the store six years ago this spring and the store has been (in Mount Pleasant) since 1968, so its 50 years (old).

When books are brought in is it considered an even exchange, or does it just discount the price?

It is (considered an even exchange) but you still have to pay a small fee. It’s a book-for-book exchange, so it's easier that way. If you did not bring a book in to trade, it would be half the cover.

How many books can you bring in at one time?

You can’t bring no more than 30 books in (at a time). When I first bought it (the store) people were carrying a broken box with two people through the door. That’s when I was, “Okay, were stopping this right now.” I had to clarify ‘in’ on this sign because you can buy all the book in here (the store) if you want.

What inspired you to buy this shop from the original owner?

I worked here on and off for 8 years before (I bought the store) and I always thought it would be really neat to own it — I never thought I’d have the opportunity. I guess it doesn’t matter what age you are — you are capable of what you want to do.

How has business been going?

It's busier in the summer than in the winter. When the weather’s bad a lot of people don’t want to go out. People are traveling so they search for a used book store and I’m the only one in a 50-mile radius. I get all kinds of people in the summertime.

Do you have any big plans for the future like developments or expansions?

I plan to have homemade greeting cards. A homemade card might be like a dollar, but not much more than that. The other thing is that I’m getting a quilted square for outside. 

When I was working here part time, the previous owner didn’t want to do credit cards and I saw people leaving and not purchasing because they didn’t have money on them. So now we have the square, it took us a month to get that going and it’s great.

What kind of greeting cards will you be making?

I know I’m thinking ‘get well’ and ‘sympathy’ and then probably birthdays. I’m hoping for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards, too. I know people do a lot stuff online too for (making greeting cards), but homemade is more authentic.

What kind of sales do you regularly have?

We have the 20 bargain books for certain areas (genres) for five dollars every first Wednesday of the month.