As a long-time bookworm, I am excited to be writing about a quaint little bookstore today. OZ Rare & Used Books, where you can find everything from popular drama novels to classic literature, opened its doors downtown this past March.
Just like the books inside, OZ isn't brand new; it has a history. The store began as The Book Rack and was owned by Brenda McKinney. Beginning in January current owner Denver Chandler began an apprenticeship with McKinney. Denver has always loved reading and dreamed of owning a bookstore someday, so the partnership was perfect. After a few months of apprenticeship, Denver purchased the store and began making it his own. He renamed it and moved it to a sweet little spot on East Baltimore Street.
Denver is so happy to be continuing the legacy of The Book Rack in Jackson. With the revitalization of downtown currently going on, this is the perfect time for businesses to open and grow in the area. One of the most unique things about OZ is the selection of rare books on the shelves, some that are over 100 years old. These rare books can be found at the very top of the shelves, and Denver uses one of those old rolling ladders to reach them. The selection of books will change based on what is traded in, but there will always be a good variety. I was immediately drawn to the large section of western novels because I used to buy them for my dad when he traveled a lot. I love how books bring up memories like that! Other genres currently in the store include children’s books, self-help literature, and mystery novels.
OZ also carries books on tapes and videos. The prices in the store range from $0.50 to $15.00, and you can always find plenty of books in the sale bins. It definitely beats paying full price at a big chain bookstore! I was able to find three books there for only $2.00 a piece, and they were all in excellent condition. The trade-in program is another great aspect of the business. Books brought in for trade must be in great condition without writing or tears and must have commercially acceptable value to the customer base. For each two books that are accepted for trade, you can take home one book or buy anything for half off the cover price. I have a habit of keeping books with the intention of reading them again, but I might need to go through my stash and do some trading!
I really love the story behind OZ, and I especially love Denver’s personal story. I don’t know him very well, but from meeting with him about this post, I can tell he is passionate about books! “When you see something like this fall into place, it’s impossible to believe it wasn't divine intervention,” said Seth Chandler, Denver’s dad. “This job is perfect for Denver. He knows the back story on every book in his store. The bookstore gives him a reason and a purpose for each day and a way to make money and have independence.” This quote just reinforces how important it is to support local businesses. At OZ you aren't just spending money, you are helping someone in your community achieve his dream.
OZ Rare & Used Books is located at 116 East Baltimore Street. To learn more, visit their website.
Kristi Woody is a photographer and storyteller for our Hello Jackson features about locally owned retail stores and restaurants. She also works as the university photographer for Union University and owns her own wedding photography business, Woody & Pearl Photography. In her free time, Kristi enjoys spending time with her husband and rambunctious beagle, Rhett and Chipper respectively. If you can't find Kristi in Jackson, you'll find her in her second favorite place: Disney World!