FarmTown Books has become a best seller in Farmington as a pop-up book sale for book worms and avid readers of all ages.
Devon Brothen and Amy Bry are eager to share books with the community each month in their driveway on Main Street at FarmTown Books.
This has become a word-of-mouth operation as neighbors come by to say hello, donate a box of books or swap one book for another. Youths stop by after parking their bicycles to browse for a few minutes.
In the past year during the pandemic, FarmTown Books has received a lot of support, especially since book sale fundraisers were postponed.
“Many have come and refreshed their entire kids’ library,” Brothen said.
Brothen and Bry discovered this as a source of income when their friends were making a few extra dollars cherry picking books from local thrift stores and garage sales.
“Essentially, I started doing research and I would buy and sell books online,” Brothen said. Then he embarked on an adventure of sorts to hunt down book treasures.
“The good ones are anything, you have no idea,” he said. “Stephen King books are obviously popular, but there are a million of them on Amazon, so that is not a profitable book for me as a seller because there are more and there is a surplus, so it drives the volume down and so it is not good for me.”
“It is the instant law of supply and demand on Amazon which makes it kind of fun and interesting,” Brothen said.
Selling books on Amazon is not new and can be difficult, he said, because big national brand stores and thrift stores scan books and sell them before even being placed on bookshelves.
Three months ago, Brothen decided to change his business model to become more of a volume book operation instead of hand-picking books.
He partners with other thrift shops around the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota that don’t sell books.
He picks up about 1,200 books a week at places such as Cottage Grove, Red Wing and New Prague.
FarmTown Books serves as a book rescue. The couple’s mission is to secure books, sell them at affordable prices, and promote a love for books, reading and knowledge.
“Where would they be? In the landfill by now, and now he has worked out a deal that helps them and it helps the community,” Bry said.
FarmTown Books sells books for $1 each in a range of topics, including political non-fiction, biographies, historical fiction, romance, academic, coffee table books, cookbooks, baby board books, picture and chapter books, and even Mad Libs.
While most shoppers are there for the stories, they said others come to FarmTown Books to buy hardback books to create a rainbow wall sorting the book spines by color.
Bry said their garage is plum full of rolling bookshelves, tables and bins of books.
“We will probably never park in there again,” she said.
FarmTown Books is looking to secure a warehouse.
Brothen earned an associate degree and devoted five years of service to the Minnesota National Guard.
Working in security, masonry and pole barn building, Brothen, 33, is ready to tackle the world of self-employment.
“Now I said I am going to make my own money,” he said.
The couple have natural salesmanship qualities, as they chat with shoppers.
Bry said the pandemic and quarantine brought changes to their home in a positive way. The couple were high school friends in Lakeville who have been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.
Next year they hope to have a presence at Dakota County Fair and Farmington Dew Days, but now the plan is to open monthly outside their home.
FarmTown Books is looking for a winter space to host the sales.
The next pop-up book sale will be Sept. 17-19 at 616 Main St. Connect at www.farmtownbooks.com.
“I am so busy doing the books now to read the books, but I respect books and that is why I hate throwing them away,” Brothen said.
In the future, he hopes his operation can evolve to spread the love of reading and discovering books.
“I have aspirations to grow but I think what I want to do is work with small farm towns like Farmington, and I want to take my resources and go to that town and do one $10,000 book fair and have the whole community come.”
Contact Kara Hildreth at