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One man’s goodbye is another’s good buy

Fri, Dec 13th, 2013
Posted in Chatfield Features

Ed Jackson holds a copy of “The Nutcracker,” which is one of approximately 4,000 books Jackson is selling in his bookstore located in the basement of his home in Chatfield, Minn. Photo by Barb Jeffers

After a lifetime of reading and collecting books, Ed Jackson of Chatfield, Minn. has decided it’s time to say good bye to his vast collection of approximately 4,000 books and has opened a bookstore called Famous Books in the basement of his home.

Jackson has been an avid reader his entire life and his collection grew until he first decided to sell on eBay. Jackson stated that he sold a lot of books on eBay but was not making very much money.

He then started selling books out of his garage and had pretty steady business. He then decided he had enough room in the basement of his home to move everything inside and set up a bookstore where he could sell his books on his schedule at reasonable prices, and still manage to make a little extra income as there isn’t much overhead.

So Jackson put some work into setting up the basement, built some bookshelves, and organized the books. Jackson said, “I have managed to fill the shelves with books by many great authors.”

Although three-quarters of his collection of books are fiction, Ed Jackson stated that there is something for everybody no matter what type of books a person likes to read. There are suspense novels, thrillers, and mysteries in addition to many other types of books to choose from.

Many of the books at Famous Books are classics, which are close to Ed’s heart. When asked if it is hard to let the books go, Jackson answered “some of them” as he has his favorites but says that he can’t keep adding more books to his collection he instead needs to thin it out. This is a good way to do that.

Jackson commented that many of the books that students often need can be found on his shelves in ‘like new’ condition at a fraction of the price of buying new.

The books are primarily hard cover and include all the great American writers such as Hawthorne. There are also books for pre-teen, teen, and young readers also. The books are alphabetized by author in each category so finding favorite writers and their books are easy.

Jackson has been enjoying meeting people who have come to shop for books helping them find books they are looking for and sometimes to try a different type of book than they are used to reading.

Most of Jackson’s books are by well-known authors, but he comments that there are some great books that are by some not so well-known authors too. Although Jackson has not read all of the books he has read a lot of them and is happy to share his thoughts on them.

Jackson and his wife, Helen, moved to Chatfield in 2002 when a new grand daughter was born. Since the couple was planning on retiring and could conveniently provide daycare for their granddaughter in Chatfield, they pushed up their retirement and moved to Chatfield. They have been doing daycare for their granddaughter Lydia since.

When asked if his granddaughter, now 12 years old, likes to read, Jackson said, “Yes, but I can’t get her to read what I like.” He says it is alright as long as she is reading. Jackson commented, “People were upset about the Harry Potter books but the books got some kids reading that didn’t before.”

As for Jackson’s favorite authors he said, “There are so many.” But he named a few of his top choices which follow.

Jan Karon - books are inspirational and humorous. She wrote the ‘Mitford’ series.

Vince Flynn - A Minnesota author who unfortunately passed away last summer. He wrote books about anti-terrorism and CIA thriller type books.

Jean M. Auel - wrote a series titled “Earth’s Children,” which is a favorite of Jackson’s.

Currently Jackson has a table full of holiday themed books on a table display including “The Nutcracker” among other classics.

Ed Jackson said he will keep Famous Books open as long as he is making enough money to make it worth his while. He stated that business has been up and down with weather not cooperating recently, but business is picking up now as people are calling and stopping in.

Most of the books are priced between $3 and $5 which is less than half of what a normal second hand bookstore would charge and is a very reasonable price.

Famous Books is open Wednesday - Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. and Jackson will also open for private showings by appointment.

The address is 13947 117th Street S.E. in Chatfield, Minn. The phone number is (507) 250-4826. Stop in for a quiet, peaceful browse through some of the greatest books every written offered at a great price.

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