of customer care
By MONICA CANE
This month The Book Exchange located at 332 N Main St. in Manteca will celebrate 23 years in business.
What started over two-decades ago with owner Cheryl Lovering and her sister opened a tiny one room used bookstore with hundreds of books has now expanded into two huge rooms filled with thousands and thousands of books.
Chatting with long time staff member Elaine Ivey, she shares the secret as to what makes The Book Exchange stand out over other bookstores.
“If you come in here, we are going to go out of our way to help you. We provide a lot of personal customer service. If you are looking for something, we help you find it. If we can’t find it, we’ll order it. We provide that personalization because we just love our customers.”
Adding playful to the list of reasons the used bookstore is a cut above the rest, Elaine says, “We’re much nicer” in which I wholeheartedly agree.
I’ve been exchanging books at the quaint little shop for years and have witnessed firsthand not only the knowledge the staff has of most all the books they carry but their sincerity towards their customers when helping them.
At one time romance novels were the main attraction at The Book Exchange but now according to staff, teens, twenty-something’s and readers in their fifties, which we all know is the new thirty, are enjoying the young adult genre due to the quality of writers.
While the store is best known for their book exchange policy which allows customers to receive credit for any and all books they bring in, and then have the ability to apply 50% of their credit toward used book purchases, the store also offers up to 20% discount on new books along with doing special orders for customers without charging shipping and handling.
In addition to providing what the local high schools need for their reading lists throughout the school year and summer, the store keeps well stocked with books based on recent movies, such as the mystery/science fiction Maze Runner, the award winning, Revenant, and the spine tingling fantasy, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. In other words, The Book Exchange offers a little bit of everything.
Taking in 200 to 700 books daily, the store makes every effort to discount their books as much as possible to make things affordable for their customers and when you combine that with their quality customer care, it’s no wonder people keep coming back. Even those people who are plugged into modern technology with their Kindles and E-readers keep coming back to The Book Exchange because as Elaine herself knows, there is just something special about having a real book in your hand, being engrossed in the story and flipping over just one more page to see what happens next.
Elaine admits that she has been flipping over pages to see what happens next ever since she was 10 years old and her uncle Virgil gave her Louis L'Amour westerns.
“You travel so many places and have such a vision in your mind when you read a book. I started reading Louis L'Amour westerns and loved it and I have been an avid reader ever since.”
A strong supporter of local authors, the store is open to arranging book signing events as well as selling local authors’ books in the store. A few books written local authors that the presently carry are, the anti-bullying book Gladys Glasses, written by Manteca resident Harry Pache, Darkblade and the Secret Shadow, written by Sierra High graduate, Lawrence Silveria as well as the non-fiction, When I was a Kid, written by Former Sequoia School teacher, Thomas Hoskins, which compares his childhood experiences growing up in Davis in the 1960s to those of children today.
Supporting readers and writers alike, loving their customers and going above and beyond in their customer care is what has set The Book Exchange apart for the past two decades and will continue to do so for many years to come.
The Book Exchange, 332 N. Main Street, Manteca is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. The phone number is 209/823.2398.