Joanne Salvato’s eyes light up when she discusses books.
The Watertown resident carries that passion to every day, which she bought in 2006.
“I just have so much fun running it,” she told Waltham Patch in an interview last week.
Salvato, a Watertown resident who has no background in the book industry, never aimed to own a book store. She fell into it. For years, Salvato said, she worked in jobs she did not enjoy, but became a customer of the store. One day, Salvato said, she left her name at the store with an offer to work. Eventually, she landed a part-time job and later bought the shop in 2006 when the former owner retired, according to Salvato.
“I love books,” she said.
The store, tucked into a small shopping complex on River Street, is stuffed with more than 20,000 books ranging from science-fiction to mysteries to the latest craze, “The Hunger Games,” Salvato said. It almost seems like the store lacks enough space for them. Annie’s Book Stop also has locations throughout New England, but Salvato only owns the Waltham site.
While she sells some titles brand new, she mostly sells used books she purchases from customers, who receive store credit, Salvato said.
The shop, in partnership with the Book Cellar, also pays cash for used college textbooks, according to Salvato.
Salvato’s philosophy that she can find every book a home drives the stores other services. The shop also accepts used books donations for Better World Books, according to Salvato. Better World Books aims to improve literacy rates world wide, according to its Web site.
For Salvato, books are not only an escape, but a way to help people. She frequently chats with customers to learn what they are interested in and then recommend a book to address those needs. Recently, Salvato said, an elderly lady with sciatica visited the store looking for a book to help her cope with her condition. Salvato happily obliged and reaped the result she loves to hear about.
“The book helped her,” Salvato said. “Picking the right books for the right person [is important].”
Despite the focus on books, Salvato also sells jewelry she handcrafts. Necklaces, bracelets and earings sit above the counter in the corner of the store. Her paintings also hang on the walls of store. While she says she does not sell the paintings, she occasionally parts with one, she said.
With books stores struggling with the explosion of e-book sales available on iPads and other e-readers, Salvato remains loyal to the crisp pages of paper books. A sign at the store’s entrance reinforces her philosophy as well as her passion.
“Book not Nook,” the sign reads, referring to the Nook, an e-reader sold through Barnes and Noble.