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Moody opens I Love Books at Kingsport Town Center

November 28th, 2011 9:56 am by Staff Report

Moody opens I Love Books at Kingsport Town Center

Moody is also a skilled craftsman in the fine art of book conservation and restoration and rebinding books by hand.

T. Glen Moody, Ph.D., "loves" books.


In the last 40 years, Moody has acquired more than 100,000 titles and, recently opened a bookstore appropriately named, "I Love Books," in the upper level of the Kingsport Town Center. As the former owner of Moody’s Bible Bookstore, Moody’s collection of books runs the gamut from religious to "Do it Yourself."


I Love Books features new and used books, general and religious categories, including Bibles, general market bestsellers, 99 cent paperbacks, leather-bound collector editions, local and regional titles, and a special selection of books more than 100 years old. The majority of Moody’s upfront stock is new, with the back room and a huge warehouse dedicated to nearly 80,000 additional titles, many of which are no longer in print.


His second love is education, and Moody is a self-proclaimed "life-long learner." It was his quest for knowledge that led Moody to shutter his bookstore of 38 years. Moody returned to college in 2008 to pursue two doctorates - one in organizational leadership and higher education and a second in social research and communication. Moody could not continue to operate the store and maintain his focus on learning so he closed the bookstore.


While doing his dissertation, friends would ask his intentions for the former bookstore on Ft. Henry Drive.


"They wanted to know if I was going to sell the building, and I said ‘yes’" but, first, he needed to liquidate some stock, namely about 100,000 books collected over his 38 years in business.


That led Moody to open his new bookstore, I Love Books, in 2010. He and his wife, Deb, had fun naming the new book store.


"When Deb picked ‘I Love Books’ from my list of possibilities, it was pretty much a no brainer because lots of folks who walk in here exclaim, "’Oh, I just LOVE books.’"


Along with his two master degrees and soon to be two doctoral degrees, Moody is also a skilled craftsman in the fine art of book conservation and restoration and rebinding books by hand. He learned the craft through formal and informal training, and is a member of the prestigious "Guild of BookWorkers," an international society of hand bookbinders, restorationists and conservationists.


For Moody, hand-binding books is more of a hobby than a vocation. When doing a restoration project, his general charge is much less than the cost of the leather used to rebind the book. A typical bookbinding entails more than 50 separate steps and requires three to four weeks to complete.


"I’ve never been in business to make money, and it’s worked out well," he laughed. "When working in the store or rebinding a book by hand, I don’t really think about the cost factors. These are both jobs that I just happen to really enjoy."


Even though Moody sells used books, he rarely buys books from customers. The reason is simple supply and demand.


"The majority of folks have the same titles so I don’t buy general interest used books," he explained. Moody, however, is always looking for books on regional history in particular books on Southwest Virginia. "Because of the small print run, many of our regional books are out of print and hard to find, and I like to keep a good stock of regional books for my customers."


He additionally keeps a good stock of books by local authors like Kingsport native Lisa Alther who has a new book out called "Washed in the Blood." Moody said the book is similar to her bestseller, "Kinflicks," in that it is a "veiled story about Kingsport," but the new story centers on the region’s relationship to the Melungeons.


Since Moody cannot possibly stock his entire 100,000 titles in I Love Books, he additionally sells online through his website, http://www.ilovebooksbookstore.com/. Although he uses an online platform to move his stock, Moody said the hometown bookstore concept is not dead. In fact, the hometown bookstore is the new model.


"This is the bookstore of the 50s and 60s, but it is also the bookstore of the future," he said. "The time of the big box bookstore has come and gone. The new model is the small, local bookstore where customer service is key."


Moody urged residents to patronize local merchants. "Many people consider local bookstores as something important to their community. If you want and consider that important to your community, then please shop at your local bookstore."


I Love Books Bookstore is located next to Italian Village in the upper level of the Kingsport Town Center, and is open during regular mall hours. For more information, call 423-378-5859 or visit the online store at http://www.ilovebooksbookstore.com/.

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