Thursday, November 06, 2008

Free books? You bet!

It's amazing what you can find when you clean up clutter, isn't it? I had no idea that was where I placed my sardine burger last month....just kidding!

But I did find an article I tore out from the Mountain Xpress newspaper (Asheville) a couple of months ago, and I remarked then that I needed to write a blog about this unique entrepreneurial effort: a book store where the books are free. All of 'em.

The Asheville Free Book Exchange is smack dab in the middle of the artsy River District, at 191 Lyman Avenue in the Riverfront Station. Ryan Clark and Alexsey Zolotaryov are the Exchange's co-founders who wanted to put used books to good (and free) use. Their operating funds come from donations of generous individuals, basically, as well as a very small percentage of books good enough to put up for sale on

While the idea was generated from a similar store in Baltimore, the Asheville Book Exchange wanted something other than a warehouse atmosphere. That's why when you go there, they have a nice supply of comfy couches as they encourage users to feel the store as an extension of community, for reading, chatting, interacting...they're more than willing to host movie screenings and book circle meetings. They have a great selection for children, as well as wifi if you want to pull up a chair and stay a while.

I haven't yet gotten by there, but I hope to soon enough. Supposedly they were going to start an open mic night the first Thursday of every month, at least that was their plan starting in August. I know the idea of a free exchange of books or otherwise is not new, but it sure is good seeing young people investing in 'green' ideas that are good for the community...a business that actually 'gives' instead of 'takes'.

For more information you can email them at:

or call 'em at 404-933-9173

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