There’s something about a good book store that defies the Internet.
Although electronic books and on-lines sales have made serious inroads to brick and mortar operations, many people still take great satisfaction in browsing through a store, picking out a book, and taking it home for a good read.
Afton Smith of Towanda is one such person who has confidence that there’s enough of a customer base to support a bookstore. On Saturday, Smith held the grand opening of Usborne Books with Afton, a small bookstore located on Main Street in Laceyville, which primarily sells children’s books.
“This is a complete bookstore,” Smith explained. “Parents want to be able to put a book in their children’s hands, which you can’t do with an electronic one. We also offer many interactive books which you can’t do with an on-line book.”
Smith explained she’s been selling children’s books out of her home in Towanda for the past two years, and she decided she wanted to open up her own operation.
“It’s always been a passion of mine. I’ve always been an avid reader,” she said.
Obtaining information from Usborne Books, which is a franchise like Barnes and Noble, Smith received permission from the company’s CEO to set up her own operation in Laceyville. The store carries of full line of Usborne and Kane & Miller books, both of which are published by the same company.
The reason she picked Laceyville for the store’s location, Smith said, is because the nearest bookstore is in Vestal, N.Y. to the west and Scranton to the east. She wanted something that is centrally located, attracting customers from Towanda as well as Tunkhannock.
Usborne Books with Afton carries mostly children’s books, although there are a selection for adults as well.
“It’s really an exciting time for me,” Smith explained.
Usborne Books publishes over 5,000 titles, Smith explained, and she carries at least 1,000 of them. Among the different categories include phonics, activities, stickers, chapter books, interactive books, dinosaur kits, and building kits. There are even ‘books’ which feature different types of doll houses - such as Victorian and a castle - that can be built.
Usborne books will also feature ‘Book Club’ activity twice a month. The event will feature a story time, a craft, and a snack, Smith explained. Parents can drop their kids off and return later, or they can stay and participate in the activities, Smith said. She has not yet decided when the Book Club will start, but will announce it in the near future.
The Easter Bunny is scheduled to make an appearance at the store on April 1, Smith said.
Adults shopping at Usborne can select series books and well as some action books, which appeal to older children as well, Smith said.
The store also carries crayons, colored pencils, birthday cards, signs from Rustic Roost and Prim’s Attic, and Cali’s Love ‘Bow-Tique’ hair bows, Smith said.
“I think it’s great,” said Lori Holdren of Laceyville, who was shopping at Usborne Books on Saturday. “I’ve very enthusiastic about a bookstore being in town. I bought books for my nieces and nephews.”
“It’s wonderful,” said Sharon Wood of Laceyville. “I wish she had been open during Christmas. “I buy a lot of books for my great-grandchildren and the store has a really nice selection of everything.”
The hours for Usborne Books with Afton are Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday.