As e-commerce takes over the book market, David Chung is looking to go back to brick-and-mortar roots.
Dream Books Co., an online used-books store, is making it possible to shop in its new Denver warehouse. The company moved its headquarters to an 18,000-square-foot space at 4455 Grape St., which will be home to the 50/50 bookstore.
Chung, 27, owner and founder of Dream Books, said the store will give old books a new life.
“My hope is by keeping the cost down low for readers, it keeps those books from being recycled,” he said.
Dream Books sells books, games, movies and comics through virtual stores on eBay and Amazon. Chung said its inventory comes from libraries, nonprofits, thrift stores and other bookstores.
While Chung said he tries to save as many books as he can, some are not worth the cost of shipping. Heavier books often cost more to ship than what Dream Books sells them for.
Chung also factors in the low cost – about 6 cents each – to get his inventory. He estimated that Dream Books spent $550,000 getting books from Goodwill Industries in 2017.
While some of those books wouldn’t be worth shipping, Chung said, they could do well in a shop.
The book vendor launched a Kickstarter campaign in December for 50/50, hoping to raise $9,000 to finish the store. So far, the campaign has raised $4,900 from 42 backers. Chung said Dream Books still would open 50/50 if the campaign is unsuccessful.
Dream Books used a $2 million SBA loan to buy the building in August. Russell Gruber of Newmark Knight Frank represented the company in the deal.
Most of the warehouse is used for sorting and storing books – it receives between 20,000 and 25,000 items daily. The warehouse is set up to hold 90,000 books, and can be expanded for more.
Chung started Dream Books in 2008, two months after graduating from Smoky Hill High School in Aurora. The company moved to a spot in Englewood where Chung ran Fireside Coffee and Books, a 24-hour bookstore. It closed the store three years ago when rent went up.
Moving to the new location helped the company double its footprint and add four to its staff. But Chung said the current online model always made him want to go back to a physical store.
“We had all these books that we couldn’t sell online anymore,” he said.