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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The Brewed Book: Used books make an unexpected comeback

Despite+the+digitalization+of+books%2C+The+Brewed+Book+has+experienced+a+rise+in+popularity+because+of+their+business+model+that+is+loved+by+locals.
Shobini Iyer
Despite the digitalization of books, The Brewed Book has experienced a rise in popularity because of their business model that is loved by locals.

From online grocery shopping to Venmo transactions, technology has become an inevitable part of people’s everyday lives — and books are no exception. With the rise of digital services such as Audible and the Kindle, old-fashioned books have seen a decline in popularity.

However, a local establishment is writing a new chapter in the world of book buying. The Brewed Book is a used bookstore and coffee shop located in the Hilltop neighborhood of Davenport. 

From the variety of comfortable seating among rustic bookshelves to the menu of drinks with clever literary names, The Brewed Book has curated a sustainable business model and an ambiance that is beloved by locals. Customers can peruse the shelves of books, enjoy a cup of coffee with a pastry, play board games and more. 

Senior Sumika Thapa frequents The Brewed Book and enjoys its comforting environment. “The ambiance of The Brewed Book is every book lover’s dream. It hones in all aspects of an ideal quiet space and is the perfect place to unwind and relax,” she said. 

In the recent past, pandemic-related challenges have led to the decline of bookstores. During the pandemic, many book dealers located in populous cities had trouble staying afloat amid the turbulent economic climate and rising real estate prices. According to U.S. census data, bookstore sales were down by nearly 30% in 2020. The pandemic, in conjunction with the convenience of digital books, led to an overall decrease in demand for physical copies.

But as locally-owned bookstores like The Brewed Book are not only staying afloat but prospering, many are left wondering, “What are they doing differently?”

The key: used books. 

Co-owner of The Brewed Book Trever Fuhs has found the success of his business model to be associated with their book-buying experience. “With the death of retail, things like used bookstores and other more scavenger organisms can thrive in this ecosystem,” Fuhs stated.  

With the death of retail, things like used bookstores and other more scavenger organisms can thrive in this ecosystem

— Trever Fuhs, Brewed Book Owner

Similar to thrifting clothing, sifting through shelves of used books is like a treasure hunt. Customers never know what they will find, which makes discovering an interesting read an even more rewarding experience. 

“I don’t think people are buying more books now than they were 20-30 years ago. But 20 or 30 years ago, they were more likely to walk around in a mall and go to a bookstore and actually physically buy books. Nowadays, it’s more about online buying books. But people don’t have that browsing experience and that ‘actually going to a place experience,’” Fuhs continued. 

An added dimension to the success of retailers like The Brewed Book is that they can offer better prices than their competitors – Amazon and other booksellers. The Brewed Book prices paperbacks at $3 and hard copies at $5, making them accessible to a wide range of customers. Additionally, the profit margins on used books are much larger, especially since retailers like The Brewed Book have collections of books that are largely composed of donations.

“I’m surprised more small businesses in the Quad Cities aren’t following a similar business model. In comparison to chain stores like Barnes and Nobles and BAM, The Brewed Book is far more affordable,” Thapa continued

As people are transitioning away from traditional goods and services in favor of their digital counterparts, The Brewed Book serves as a reminder that some experiences simply cannot be emulated on a digital platform.

In the Quad Cities, The Brewed Book has become a cultural gem, providing locals with an enjoyable browsing experience and an affordable buying experience. 

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About the Contributor
Shobini Iyer, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Shobini Iyer is currently a senior at Pleasant Valley and serves as the Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Spartan Shield. Aside from Honors Journalism, Shobini’s favorite classes consist of AP Physics and AP Calculus. In addition to her academics, Shobini immerses herself in activities such as First Tech Challenge, Math Club, and Ethics Bowl. Shobini is actively involved in the Arts at Pleasant Valley and takes part in choir, jazz choir, and plays violin in the local Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra. When she isn’t working for the Shield, Shobini enjoys mentoring young robotics teams, watching movies, and curating Spotify playlists for every mood. Outside of school, Shobini can be found working at Mathnasium or traveling with her family. Shobini is looking forward to working for the Shield this semester!
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The Brewed Book: Used books make an unexpected comeback