By Karen Brainard
Books! Books! Books! is back.
The used bookstore that once occupied a space by the Old Ramona Hotel Gallery is again at 835 Main St., but in the rear of the parking area. Like the previous bookstore, it is stocked with thousands of books.
“I love the store,” said owner Fred Hlawatsch. “I wanted a bookstore since I was 8 years old.”
Hlawatsch founded Books! Books! Books! about 17 years ago in Ramona and operated it with partner Ginger Cody. She died approximately six months ago, he said.
The bookstore closed, Hlawatsch said, after he lost many customers due to the wildfires.
“I lost about 30 customers who were wiped out,” he said. “It was a bad time.”
The bookstore is opening a new chapter in the same spot because, Hlawatsch said, he likes it and “Ramona has terrific crossroads.”
“Our strengths are mysteries, science fiction and classics,” Hlawatsch said of his book assortment.
He added that he has a strong military history section and a “men’s wall” with adventure-type stories as well as other genres. The store carries mostly paperbacks but also has some hardcovers, and Hlawatsch said he continually purchases used books to have the best quality selection.
Overall, the bookseller said he has 25,000 to 30,000 books with a large portion of his collection stored at his home in National City.
He sells the books for $1 to $3 and noted the average price is $1.50.
The store is open the first Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. but Hlawatsch said he plans to expand to two Saturdays a month.
“So far it looks encouraging,” he said of the reopened business.
A customer last Saturday said she was thrilled to find 10 books in a mystery series for her son, an avid reader.
Over a year ago, Hlawatsch donated hundreds of young people’s books to the Mount Woodson Elementary School library.