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Virginia Bookstore Finds the Secret to Success

A large bookstore in a small U.S. town has succeeded for many years by giving people a chance to buy a lot of books for a low price.

The large and simple bookstore is in the small eastern town of Mount Crawford, Virginia.

The Green Valley Book Fair is made up of two large storage buildings totaling 2,300 square meters.

Some customers like Zoe Dellinger have been buying books at the store for many years.

“I was coming here since I was in my early 20s. The thrill of finding a new book is very serendipitous here because you can’t come and say ‘I’m buying the new Nicholas Sparks book today.’ That’s not what this place is about -- this place is about finding wonderful treasures.”

And those treasures are not costly.

“I found a wonderful book that I wanted. It was very expensive at the time -- 25, 26 dollars was expensive for me to purchase a new book. I found the book here for five dollars. I was so excited, so that has kept me coming back just to see what treasures I'll find.”

The Green Valley Book Fair has 500,000 new and old books about politics, religion, science, travel, cooking and many other subjects.

Michele Branner is the manager of the store.

“My parents actually started this bookstore about 46 years ago. My dad collected old books and then decided that he wanted to sell some of them. And it went so well it’s just kind of evolved to what it is today.”

The bookstore is only open six times a year for three weeks. About 25,000 people visit during each period. The store sells about $2 million worth of books every year.

“We buy our books at a fraction of retail and we can sell them for the prices that we do and keep our overhead low. That’s why we, we don’t have any fancy buildings or anything like that.”

People have visited the store from many American states and from Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Russia.

Tom Whitton is from the eastern city of Bristol, Connecticut.

“We have our whole family with us this time. So we said ‘Oh you gotta see this book fair,’ and so we brought 'em all here today. It meets every family’s need that likes to read.”

I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.

VOA Correspondent June Soh reported this story from Mount Crawford, Virginia. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the report for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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Words in This Story

thrill – n. a feeling of great excitement or happiness; a very exciting or enjoyable event or experience

serendipitous – adj. luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for

treasure – n. something that is very special, important or valuable

expensive - adj. costing a lot of money​

evolve – v. to change or develop slowly often into a better, more complex or more advanced state; to develop by a process of evolution

fraction – n. a small part or amount of something

overhead - n. costs for rent, heat, electricity, etc., that a business must pay and that are not related to what the business sells

fancy – adj. not plain or ordinary

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