July 18, 2018
A man who has 30,000 books in his house is using them to open a bookstore
by Stephanie DeLuca
A common complaint among book lovers, usually made in jest, is not having enough room in their homes for all their books. Well, Steven Woolfolk of Kennewick, Washington is not joking around. As Noelle Haro-Gomez writes at the Tri-City Herald, every single room and hallway of Woolfolk’s home is filled with books — so much so that he has plans to open up his own bookstore with them.
Woolfolk estimates that he has over 30,000 books in his home, plus three storage rooms and another facility. He’s been an avid collector of books for the past thirty years, and his stash includes a wide range of titles, including books from the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s. He also has a strong collection of science and science-fiction titles.
The store, which Woolfolk has been saving money for these past three decades, will be called Xenophile, Bibliopole & Armorer, Chronopolis — but his storefront will stick with something a little bit easier to remember and simply label itself as “Books, Posters, etc.” Woolfolk plans to open in October, and his goal is to provide a different sort of place, where people can find unusual books not found in your typical bookstore.
A true book lover, Woolfolk believes that books are an essential part of the human experience. He told Haro-Gomez, “When you hold an old book, you are actually holding a piece of all of our history.” He adds, “This is how your reach into the future and the past.”
While some may think 30,000 books is too many, Woolfolk doesn’t care: “It feels normal to me,” he says. Woolfolk is living his dream of owning his own store, surrounded by books he loves, and sharing them with the world. And in today’s world, that sounds just normal enough for us.
Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.