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I Love Books serves up a vast collection of reading materials

November 6th, 2013 5:21 pm by Tanja Moody

I Love Books serves up a vast collection of reading materials

Dr. T. Glen Moody is a person who is passionate about a few things: books, education and research. A lively conversationalist, Moody interacts with his store’s customers. He pivots to attention at the ding of the bell that announces the arrival of a customer. His is not a store where buyers wait without being greeted promptly.

When customers ask Moody how the book business is, he quotes Yogi Berra, saying, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” Sometimes, he admits, “It isn’t what it once was, but it’s better than it has been for the past five years.”  

Kingsport retail sales hit a slump between 2008 and 2011, but the store owner says it has been steadily climbing for the past three years. Moody closed his previous store Moody Bible Bookstore during the worst of the decline while he worked on a second masters degree and two doctorates. His degrees in education, theology and sociology attest to his love of learning. Currently, his previous store serves as warehouse space in addition to the storage area temporarily housing books in the back of the store. 

And since Moody buys his stock in bulk, he has more than 40,000 books processed, cataloged for online sales, and organized in boxes in the storage areas.

“Every day I think about getting out of the book business, but then I go and buy a bunch more books and it becomes even more difficult to quit,” he says. “My plan just isn’t working out.”

While the number of books sold has been declining since 1990, the biggest reason for the closure of personally-owned bookstores isn’t because of new technology, online book sales or even competition from chain bookstores.

“It’s not the e-book readers as much as it is the ‘I don’t read-ers,’” Moody says.

A lifelong reader, Moody says customers often comment that he must love to read.

“Actually I hate to read,” he admits. “But I haven’t figured out another way to get the information that I thrive on out of books. Whatever interests me, I’ll read a thousand books on it. I need to know everything about it. Yeah, it’s a little obsessive. I’m an info ‘junkie.’”

While Moody says he abhors “fluff” books that do nothing to move brain waves, he doesn’t avoid modern fiction. 

“Fiction isn’t my cup of tea, but I assign myself important things to read that I wouldn’t ordinarily read, like the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. Koontz is a genius - he includes politics, theology, philosophy, literature, sociology and science in his writings. There are a lot of layers to his writing.” 

Used books currently are a faster growing section of sales than other aspect of the business. Christmas cards, calendars, and "Duck Dynasty" products are also hot right now. 

“We’re getting requests for the Adriana Trigiani books every day,” Moody says, noting that the author’s books are in the process of being made into a movie.

I Love Books is located inside the Kingsport Town Center (formerly called the Fort Henry Mall) at 2101 Fort Henry Drive. Business hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit the I Love Books Bookstore Facebook page, or call 423-378-5859.

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