By B.C. Manion
Cynthia Floyd’s dream of opening a bookshop began when she was quite young.
Her love of reading began even earlier.
“When I was a kid, I read everything,” she said.
At one point, her school librarian at Carrollwood Elementary told Floyd that she’d read every biography in the school’s collection.
Over the years, Floyd’s reading tastes have changed. Now, she’d rather read fiction than biographies.
But her love for the written word has continued, unabated.
She reads for pleasure. She reads to learn. She reads to enlarge her world.
“I cannot do or visit or experience all of the things in life, personally, but reading takes me there,” said Floyd, owner of Book Swap of New Tampa, an independently owned used bookstore at the southeast corner of SR 56 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.
Floyd, who also owns Book Swap of Carrollwood, said opening a second shop has been risky, especially in these tough economic times.
She is confident, though, that her New Tampa/Wesley Chapel store will attract enough business to keep it going.
She acknowledged that business is not where it needs to be yet.
Still, she believes that she has picked an excellent spot for her shop.
It’s just like deciding where to buy a house, she said: location, location, location.
The shop is at a highly traveled intersection and the store is directly across the street from the Barnes & Noble at The Shops at Wiregrass, which Floyd thinks will work in her favor.
The area’s potential is excellent, too, she said.
The Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard is slated to open next fall and Pasco-Hernando Community College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch is set to begin classes in 2014.
So far, the bookstore is attracting traffic and getting good reviews from patrons, she said.
“The bookstore has been really well received by customers. People tell me that they’re thrilled we’re here. I hope that translates into dollars,” she said.
But the recession has been a challenge, Floyd said.
Despite the challenges, she prefers to take the long view.
“I think it just comes to a point, where we all just have to be patient and look for a better future,” said Floyd, who used to be a government employee before becoming a bookseller.
About seven years ago, Floyd gave herself a $2,000 allowance and a year to research what it would take for her to open a bookstore.
“I went to bookseller conferences, I went to bookseller school. I did a lot of Internet research,” she said.
And, after all that, she decided to take the plunge – buying the Book Swap of Carrollwood.
Since then, of course, much has changed in the book world. For one thing, eBooks have become all the rage.
eBooks are available through Floyd’s website, but she believes there’s still a strong market for people who prefer hard copies.
Her store sells new and used books and can order anything for a customer if it is still in print. Unlike most shops, readers can bring in used books and trade them in for credits toward the purchase of other books.
“We give you store credit. We don’t pay cash for books. The store credit can be used for anything in the store, but you do pay a percentage,” Floyd said.
The store gives a 25 percent credit up to a maximum of $2 for paperbacks; up to $4 for hard covers; and up to $5 for audio books.
But it doesn’t accept every book that people bring into the shop, Floyd said. It grants store credits for books based on the condition, author and title. In essence, the store buys books that it thinks it can sell.
The store credits can be used to purchase anything in the store, but there’s a limit to how much can be used on each purchase. Those buying a used book can pay up to 50 percent of the price with a store credit; when buying something new, they can use pay up to 30 percent with a store credit.
If you purchase a book from the store and bring it back in good condition, after reading it, the store guarantees it will buy it back, Floyd said.
New Tampa, 1946 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., (813) 929-7490
Carrollwood, 13144 N. Dale Mabry Highway, (813) 963-6979