Local bookstore looks to be a bestseller
In a market of big-box bookstores boasting thousands of titles, gourmet coffee and electronic readers, Danny and Julie Woodfill, owners of The Book Spot, are looking to attract customers with a blend of quality customer service, a large selection of new and used titles, author signings and other events.
The couple first delved into the book-selling business when Julie worked as a teacher and sold her teaching materials on Craigslist. From there, the Woodfills attempted to open bookstores in different spaces but were not profitable until locating to their 3,000-square-foot shop on Round Rock Avenue in December 2010.
"[Trying different locations] was a good learning experience," Danny said. "Relatively speaking, especially by local [book] businesses, Round Rock is really underserved. We thought this would be a good place for an independent bookstore."
Shelves of romance, mystery and other fiction novels, along with tables of jewelry, book accessories and a place to buy snacks fill the shop. The store is divided into different sections, including a children's literature space, a nonfiction area and collections for young adults.
While the Woodfills stock titles for a range of tastes, the store serves a large young adult, or YA, reader demographic because of its proximity to Round Rock ISD. Events such as the Young Adult Book Fest in May and author signings help cater the business to the YA audience.
"[Customer base] is more a matter of where you are," Danny said. "Because of where we are in the suburbs, we do a lot of kid and young-adult books and events."
But that doesn't stop the couple from offering events and titles for other readers with preferences such as science fiction or romance.
In addition to catering to an array of genres with book selections and events, the Woodfills seek to compete with larger booksellers by offering a higher level of customer service and drawing customers from Round Rock's surrounding communities. The couple, along with their dogs, greet and help each customer but aim not to pressure their visitors.
"People can shop online where they [do not receive customer] service. ... They can go to big-box stores where customer service is hit or miss," Danny said. "There's really no reason to be here if we're not providing something that isn't being provided [elsewhere], so [in] large part [for us], that's customer service and customer experience."
The couple also works to carry the same titles as their competition. Danny said he tries to stock every used title he can find so customers do not have to buy new and have a larger selection from which to choose.
"If it's available used, you're going to find it available used here," he said.
In the future, the couple hopes to expand their current space or add other locations as the shop continues to fill with books and readers.
Local author spotlights
Tintera, who currently lives in southern California, grew up near Manor, and graduated from McNeil High School. She began writing in junior high, so when she delved into novel writing after college, creating young-adult fiction seemed natural, she said. Her book, "Reboot," which was published May 7, is set in post-apocalyptic Texas and tells the story of teenagers who are resurrected after dying to be used as soldiers. A sequel is set to be released May 6, 2014.
Hoover grew up in Alexandria, Va., but has lived in Texas since 1994. Currently she lives in Austin with her husband and two children. Hoover said she enjoys capturing the range of teenage emotions in her young-adult fiction. Her novel "Solstice" was written in 2008 and is set in Austin during a time when temperatures are scorching and food and water are scarce. After receiving a mysterious package for her 18th birthday, heroine Piper must travel to the underworld to save her best friend.
August store events
Aug. 8: End of Summer S.W.E.A.T. Young Adult Book Chat
Join Shannon Messenger, Amy Tintera, Debra Driza and Kasie West for their SoCal Writers Excellent Adventure in Texas event. The authors discuss their writing and lives and take questions from the crowd. Books are available for purchase and signing. 7 p.m. Free
Aug. 10: Women, Words and Wine
Nationally known women's literature and romance authors Julia London and Christie Ridgway talk about books, writing and life as authors. London launches her new contemporary series, "Homecoming Ranch," and Ridgway discusses her "Beach House No. 9," series. 6 p.m. Free