With more people reading this year, the need to find the perfect book brings new life and new customers to independent used book stores, including one local favorite - Copper Cat Books.
Copper Cat Books, a “shop for the curious - but not a curiosity shop”, is Henderson’s newest and only used bookstore, located between Valle Verde Drive and Arroyo Grande Boulevard. They house between 20-30 thousand books in-store, and about 60 thousand in their warehouse - half of which is inventoried and searchable, through a spreadsheet updated periodically. Gift items and reading accessories are also available in-store. Founded in 2017, they celebrate their third anniversary next month on December 9th.
Wendy P. Marcisofsky, co-owner of the store alongside her husband Anthony Marcisofsky, explained how they meet as many reading “tastes” as possible and go out of their way to help readers find their “perfect book”.
“We are able to carry what customers ask for and are not restricted by what sometimes happens with "corporate" stores where the decision on what to carry is made without consideration to the regional tastes of a market,” she said.
Rarely unable to find the right book for someone, she said she will “search the entire globe” for free to find a book a customer is looking for if needed, only charging the price of the book itself. Due to their small size, they can closely track popular books and attempt to keep multiple copies on hand ready for purchase.
All of their efforts help the store develop its own niche, offering a personal touch to assist customers in finding what they’re looking for. New to retail, the Marcisofskys learn along the way and work to make sure everyone who comes into the shop enters a welcoming atmosphere.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the store closed for eight weeks and went through difficult times, like many businesses. For now, Copper Cat Books is “holding up okay”.
“We were fearful customers would seek other means of acquiring books,” she said, adding it was challenging to maintain their revenue stream to make ends meet. In response, Marcisofsky took pictures of books on the shelves to post on social media, and created a way for customers to search for titles.
“If they found something of interest, we would pull, clean, and price and let them know when [it was] available,” she said. While the store has reopened for in-person shopping, curbside pick-up is still available for those who want it.
The store also offers a wide variety of signed books, available to browse here, and recently added more than 70 Star Wars books to their inventory. To order a book or inquire about one you’re looking for, you can call the store at (702) 567-2666.
Some of the vendors that they buy from donate books to needy children in the U.S. and beyond, matching one-for-one what they buy. Marcisofsky said that as of the 10th of November, one of their vendors has donated 5,364 matching books since early 2018.
“It means we sometimes pay a little more for books [or] charge a little more, but in the end, we are helping others with just a little extra expense,” she said.
When they opened back up, the store offered 50% off of everything in-store as an incentive to their readers, and to help customers during a financially difficult time. “We continue to offer 40% off most books in the store and all books in the warehouse and will do so as long as we are able,” Marcisofsky said. Active teachers also get 5% off their purchase every day.
The store runs many other small promotions and sales much of the time, including a “Riddle Me This” contest on their various social media pages where the first three people who answer correctly win a discount certificate good for 30 days.
They also introduced their ‘Reader’s Club Card,’ given to customers when they purchase an in-stock used book. Purchase amounts get recorded on the back of the card (not including tax).
For every $40 spent, customers get $5 off their next purchase of an in-stock book whether they’re in the store or in the warehouse. Any book that’s not discounted, qualifies to go on the club card and may be used as a credit off any purchase in the store without restriction. Any balance over $40 is carried over to a new card.
On the matter of running a bookstore in Las Vegas, Marcisofsky shared that there’s a unique market here, with a community of real people living real lives, and how there’s more to the area than just The Strip. “Realizing that people here want and need the same things as everywhere else is important to success,” she said.
“By recognizing that Las Vegas is not really all that different once you set aside the gaming and tourist aspect, [you’ll see that] people are people - families with personal tastes and desires, and hopefully, our bookstore fills some of those needs.”
Moving forward, Copper Cat Books continues to rely on the support and patronage of the community. With the difficulty in competing against large bookstores and online sellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, people can help independently owned bookstores by visiting them in person.
“Come see us, shop the store and give us a chance to show you why many times, we are the best option for book buying, especially used books since you can't hold an online image in your hand and have to trust a vendor that you do not know,” Marcisofsky said.
“Sit awhile and enjoy the quiet of a retail bookstore and join in on the conversations we find ourselves in "up front" by the register,” she said, adding, “Human interaction is vital to our success.”
“We would LOVE to see you in our store to share our enthusiasm for reading and show you our shop. We love when people come in that have never been before.”
Those who visit the store for the first time will find that, per its name, the store has a cat theme to it. While initially named after a trucking company the couple previously ran, they also had a tabby cat named Dilbert who became the store’s mascot of sorts, as a “sometimes-store-cat”, as Marcisofsky said.
“Dilbert was a gentle soul that helped us set up the store and gave it the ‘Dilbert seal of approval’,” she said. “He was a super mellow boy that we miss every day.” Dilbert unfortunately passed away in March 2018 after a long battle with cancer. The Marcisofskys have a new semi-resident store cat named Riley.
Visit the shop and see Riley and the Marcisofskys, at 1570 West Horizon Ridge Pkwy, Suite 170, across the street from the US Post Office. They are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Copper Cat had planned book signing events in November and December, but had to put them on hold for the time being, most likely until early 2021.
Marcisofsky concluded by saying, “Remember this...if the lights are on, even after hours, the door is open - come on in. If it is locked, give it a knock for your own "private shopping experience.”