The Book Gallery in Sparks, a used book store, is a Rail City fixture that has changed ownership several times. Its longest-tenured owner, Joe Chiappetto, has bought back the store after spending several years traveling and trying other lines of work, including running boat rentals at the Sparks marina (“Adventurer,” June 21, 2012).

What’s it like to be a bookseller?

Oh, it’s wonderful. The history of the books is fascinating—where they come from, what they’re about. I mostly like books that change the world—Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1984, books like that.

Would you recommend it to others?

If you’re into books. It’s a long and tedious—buying books, shelving books. But it’s really rewarding. … I don’t think printed books are on their way out. I think a lot of demand has slowed because of e-books and Kindle, but the demand is still there for the printed word.

When did you first buy the Book Gallery?


And you kept it until when?

I sold it in 2003.

And why have you bought it back now?

I missed it. I’ve always been a book person, and I did all the traveling I wanted to do, and now it’s back to what I always loved doing.

Are you a reader?

I am.

You told me that earlier recessions were good for used bookstores because people stopped buying so many new books, but that didn’t happen in this recession. Tell me about that.

Actually, I don’t think it’s recession that’s making the book business slow down as much as the Kindles and the e-books. They have more of an effect on the business than anything else.

Then why take this on at this time?

I think there’s always a need for books. People like to hold the book in their hand and have the history of the book in their hand instead of reading it off a teleprompter.

You didn’t start Book Gallery, right?

No, it was started by someone else. It was a going concern when I purchased it. The Book Gallery has been in the same location for 25 years.

What made you sell it the first time?

An adventurous spirit. Longing to travel. I thought I wanted to retire.

You also owned a bookstore in Sun Valley and a comic book store in Sparks.

And a bookstore in Carson City—Capitol City Books. I just divested myself of everything to travel. I wanted to see the world while I was young enough to enjoy it. … I’ve seen the whole world and now I’m back.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...