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ORANGE COUNTY CALENDAR: ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, LEISURE
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A Good Source of Secondhands Info

May 06, 2000|CHRIS CEBALLOS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

When people want to go secondhand shopping in Orange, the first place that comes to mind is the Circle. And though the Orange Circle at Glassell Street and Chapman Avenue does have many mall-style shops with garage-sale wares and high-end antique furniture stores, it doesn't offer much for the practical secondhand shopper.

Just a few miles away, on North Tustin Avenue, lies a handful of secondhand specialty shops where shoppers can find something of value.

People Still Read

When David Hess and Paul Bonaventure opened the Bookman (840 N. Tustin St., [714] 538-0166) 10 years ago, the buying and selling of used books was a very different business. Then, the two would buy virtually every book brought in, and most customers were collectibles hunters.

But with the advent of Internet auction sites such as EBay, and a more selective book-buying policy, Hess said the Bookman has evolved into a home for browsers--customers who don't know what they want, other than a good book.

"It used to be I'd have a really scarce book [at the Bookman], possibly the only copy in Southern California," Hess said. "Now you can go on the Internet and find 20 copies of the same book."

Hess speculates that many of the smaller used-book sellers will close their doors, finding more profitability from the reduced overhead of selling via the Internet. And while the Bookman has four computers to manage its Web site (http://www.ebookman.com), Hess said his store will never close its doors.

The Internet "is not a fad by any means, but you never know when people will get tired of buying online," Hess said. "The one thing you can't really do on the Internet is browse. Online you have to know what you want: title and author. And you can't see it. You have to depend on a description. At the store, you can read a little of the book and see if you even want it.

"People are still reading and I thank God for those people," he said. "They're the backbone of my business."

Hardcovers at the Bookman typically run $10 to $15, with paperbacks at half the cover price--but with a minimum price of 60 cents. The Bookman also offers paperback trading and typically offers more in-store credit than cash for used books.

The Bookman is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

You Never Knew It Existed

Next door to the Bookman is another Orange County institution of sorts, Pepperland Music (850 N. Tustin St., [714] 639-0909).

Pepperland opened in 1982 in a small underdeveloped strip mall in Anaheim. Featuring rare Beatles paraphernalia, the store quickly built a steady clientele and moved to larger digs in Orange and finally to its current location in 1996. "It's a good tie-in, having books, music, videos and things like that," said owner Mike Lefebvre. "So it's definitely been a plus for both places."

Pepperland is a mecca for magic-bean hunters, being ripe with rare and unusual vinyl records, pictures, autographs, posters, videos, DVDs, cassettes, eight-tracks and, of course, CDs.

CD sales make up most of Lefebvre's business, having a collection of new and used CDs comparable to any major chain store.

But the plus when shopping at Pepperland is the potential to find that one record you listened to a million times when you were a high school freshman and have been unable to find since your mom shoveled your junk (really treasure--but moms will never understand) into the trash while you were away.

"A lot of shoppers are conditioned and it's a shame," Lefebvre said. "They go to the chain stores to buy their CDs and videos, when a few miles away they could find something that they never knew existed."

As it has for the Bookman, the Internet has changed the way Lefebvre sells collectibles. His most expensive item on the electronic auction block is an ultra-rare Beatles' 78 rpm single featuring "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "I'll Cry Instead."

Lefebvre said collectors are speculating that the 10-inch vinyl record was possibly a vanity printing or an experimental printing by Capitol Records for the outdated jukeboxes that still played 78 records in Texas and the Southeast in the late 1960s and early '70s.

The record has yet to receive a bid at http://www.pepperlandmusic.com for its $999 starting price, but Lefebvre isn't worried about someone snatching it up for so little.

"In the '80s we sold a lot of stuff that's tough to find in this century," Lefebvre said. "Somebody might have spent $300 for a record and now, 10 years later, they sell it for $8,000 or $10,000. It doesn't make me jealous. It's a success story."

Pepperland is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Everything's an Original

Trina Centola has been wearing vintage clothes since she graduated from junior high. Now the 21-year-old Fullerton College student has wrangled a job as a clerk at the bastion of vintage fashion, Flashbacks (463 N. Tustin St., [714] 771-4912).

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