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Golden Fig celebrates one year of giving books a second life

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David Bradley, founder of Golden Fig Books, poses in his bookstore in Carrboro on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. "I feel like Carrboro is like a very like, tight-knit community that like really cares about like local businesses, and just sort of like art spaces," Bradley said. "So it's like the exact community where I feel like a bookstore can thrive."

Gold star balloons peeked over the shelves at Golden Fig Books on Saturday. 

Patrons and staff celebrated  the Carrboro location's first birthday with fun decorations, an extra 10 percent off of the staff recommendations, a crossword activity and a raffle for $50 worth of books. 

Owner David Bradley opened Golden Fig's first location in Durham in 2019. A UNC alumnus and Durham resident, Bradley eventually saw a need for more bookstores in Carrboro that included gently-used books.

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Golden Fig Books, a locally-owned and independent bookstore in Carrboro, is pictured on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. The Carrboro store celebrated turning one on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.

“I feel like Carrboro is a very tight-knit community and a community that really cares about the local businesses and art spaces,” Bradley said. “So it's the exact community where I feel like a bookstore can thrive.”

The interior of Golden Fig’s Carrboro location features rows of shelves for secondhand and new books spanning a diverse range of genres. Cozy chairs, reading nooks and a children’s section offer an opportunity for customers to interact with the inventory, staff and other visitors. 

According to bookseller Allie Cecil, the shop's location in the heart of Carrboro has been great for community integration.

Because they buy books from customers, Cecil said their collection becomes a community-curated experience. For her, it is fascinating to see the kinds of books people in Carrboro read and gain a sense of what the community is like.

Cecil said Golden Fig makes it more affordable to read and curate personal collections by using a standardized pricing scale for used books: 50 percent off a book’s original retail value. They also pay extra attention to the books' condition.

Bradley said all the staff members have a hand in creating their secondhand book collection. He said that one of the reasons the bookstore has unique and interesting titles is because it depends on who is stocking shelves that day.

Golden Fig Books wants readers to have the experience of cracking open a book for the first time, Cecil said — whether the book is new or second-hand.

“We want people to be able to feel like they have a pretty new book, but not have to pay new book prices,” she said.

Cecil said the rest of the inventory comes from buying overstock — which is when publishers produce more books than they sell — and a careful selection of new books. She said that they use new books to bolster gaps in subjects and topics on their shelves.

Sara Marossy, a sophomore at UNC, said that being in a cool bookstore like Golden Fig inspires her to read more.

“I went through a reading phase in middle school,” Marossy said. “But I haven't been able to read a lot recently because I haven't had time, but I also haven't wanted to go and buy a book and spend that money, but this makes me want to get back into reading again.”

Scattered across the shelves are different colored notes — recommendations from booksellers.

Each bookseller has a distinct color, Bradley said. That way, if customers find that they enjoy a staff member’s taste, they can find the other books they have recommended.

Community members can also submit recommendations of their own. Bradley said that anybody can submit their review to info@goldenfigbooks.com.

Cecil said it is fun to have some influence over what the bookstore carries, and that it is a cool combination of what the community and the staff are reading and enjoying at that point in time. 

Though digital books have increased in popularity, Cecil said she doesn’t think brick-and-mortar bookstores like Golden Fig are going anywhere.

Going into their second year, Bradley said that they want Golden Fig to become a cultural space in Carrboro by hosting events and discussions.

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"As for a welcome from the community and an overall first year, I think it's been above and beyond what we could have hoped for," Cecil said.

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Golden Fig Books, a locally-owned and independent bookstore in Carrboro, is pictured on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. The Carrboro store celebrated turning one on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.

@preethikaratnam

@dthlifestyle | lifestyle@dailytarheel.com

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