Story and photos by Brianna Brickweg
MSUM English/Mass Communications
Books nerds across the world dream about a store where books line the walls and flood the aisles. This dream becomes a reality through B.D.S. Books in downtown Fargo.
The bookstore was located on Broadway but moved in 2007. Brad Stephenson, the owner of B.D.S. Books, said that business is coming back as book lovers are slowly finding the store.
“Being on Broadway was nice because we got a lot of walking traffic that we don’t get here,” Stephenson said. “People lost us for a while but it’s coming back.”
B.D.S. Books has been in business since 1995. The bookstore was located in Wahpeton but moved to Fargo in May 2001.
Stephenson talks about why he loves books.
B.D.S. is open throughout the week and “by accident”
B.D.S. Books is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, until 8 p.m. on Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and “other times by accident,” as it says on the store’s hours sign.
“If you see the lights on and you catch me in here, I’m open,” Stephenson said.
The story behind the name
B.D.S. comes from the owner’s name, Brad Dean Stephenson.
Stephenson said the name also comes from an old man who walked into the store one day. The man was a newcomer and he looked at Stephenson and said “I know what B.D.S. stands for: best damn store!” Stephenson never saw the man again.
B.D.S. obtains books through donations and sales
Readers looking to thin their bookshelves can bring their books to B.D.S. for donation or for sale.
Whether or not readers donate or sell the books is up to them. If they feel the books are worth a significant amount of money, readers may choose to sell them; if readers just want to get rid of the books, B.D.S. is happy to accept donations.
Stephenson encourages those who want to donate to consider a trade: Stephenson offers two-for-one for similar kind and price.
“You can get more back that way than you can in cash,” Stephenson said.
Students can sell their textbooks to B.D.S.
Students can also sell their textbooks to B.D.S. Stephenson uses buy guides from wholesale textbook companies to determine how much he can afford to pay for the books. He takes the books he buys and sells them back to the textbook companies.
Stephenson encourages students to sell their textbooks to B.D.S. even if the rates are low because, if the textbook is three years old, chances are good that a new edition is on the way and the textbook company won’t be buying the book anymore.
“It’s worth checking,” Stephenson said.
B.D.S. provides readers with a variety of genres
B.D.S. Books is divided into two sections: fiction and nonfiction. The fiction section is divided into the following genres:
- General fiction;
- Vintage paperbacks;
- Science fiction/fantasy;
- Romance, which is subdivided into regency romance, gothic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance and harlequin, which is also subdivided into harlequin historicals and harlequin superromance;
- Western; and
- Historical fiction.
The bookstore also has sections specifically for hardcover editions of books, also separated by genre, and for “sets,” such as old Modern Library, an anthology of classical literature, editions.
The list of genres within nonfiction is at least twice as long as fiction.
Stephenson enjoys a variety of literature
Stephenson doesn’t get much time to read because he runs the bookstore, but he enjoys reading anything depending on his mood.
“I try to read a little bit of everything, even if I don’t particularly like it, because I want to know what you’re reading. If I know you’re reading vampire lover books, I want to read a few of them and at least have a sense of what they’re about.,” Stephenson said.
And yes, he has read the first “Twilight” book.
“It was fine – if you’re a fourteen-year-old girl,” Stephenson said. “I can understand (why) the young girls (read it), I really can, because all of us at that age…we all feel like the outsider at that age and to have the biggest, baddest, magical lover and ‘He loves me! Little me!’ I can understand it.”
Stephenson particularly enjoys reading science fiction and ”Don Quixote”.
“I just about cried when it (‘Don Quixote’) ended,” Stephenson said. “I wanted it to keep going. It was so much fun.”
Stephenson says, “Look for us!”
“Get on First Avenue and come until Twelfth Street,” Stephenson said. “People ask that (where B.D.S. is) all the time – ‘Where are you?’ and I say ‘On the corner of First Avenue and Twelfth Street’ and they say ‘What’s it near?’ I say ‘We got a green-and-purple building, for God’s sake. We’re what everything’s near!’”
Many people have struggled to find the bookstore but Stephenson said people are slowly finding where they are located. Stephenson said most of the problems finding the bookstore come from people simply not looking at the street signs.
“Watch your street signs,” Stephenson said. “People are funny.”
Shopping locally first can help readers find better deals
Stephenson thinks Kindles are “the work of the devil.”
“You can’t share them with somebody,” Stephenson said. “’Hey Mom, you gotta read this book but it’s on my Kindle. I can’t give it to you because you’re gonna see my porn.’ That’s the problem with the Kindle: you can’t give it to Mom.”
Stephenson supports selling books online at sites like Amazon.com because he sells there as well, but he encourages readers to check locally first.
“Right now we can buy online,” Stephenson said. “If you continue to buy online to the exclusion of buying locally, eventually you won’t have a choice because that local business won’t be there.”
A customer talks about why he loves B.D.S.
Edited by Matthew Beckman, MSUM Journalism.