Scottsdale bookstore celebrates 33 years

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Located in Old Town Scottsdale’s Art District, Poisoned Pen Bookstore celebrates 33 years of being in business.

The store is known for selling fiction novels and celebrates mystery and thriller authors by hosting literary events. Joining us to talk about her business is owner of Poisoned Pen Bookstore, Barbara Peters.

“It started out to be a specialty bookstore, because it’s very hard to be a general bookstore given the wider range of publications. And my mother, who lived in Paradise Valley, was a mystery fan. So I started the store in part to have fun with her, even the fixtures were no taller than she and I could reach,” Peters said.

It’s really grown since, especially since it’s located in an arts district with people who didn’t live in the area.

“It keeps evolving, and you know what, that makes it really fun,” Peters said.

The first year, Peters mainly focused on paying the rent.

“It really was not intended for it to be a business. I opened it for love and for fun. I don’t actually need to work, and it’s a not-for-profit bookstore,” Peters said.

Then, she started increasing the goal for the amount of money that could be made at the store.

“It’s grown, in part, because the staff, each one of them that we’ve hired has an interest of his or her own. And I have allowed them to do that. So now we have a romance specialist and we have a science fiction specialist. Every time you get a new staff member, the store grows in a new and different way. And then if you lose one, it can shrink back again. So it’s just a constantly evolving inventory and staff interest. I just watch it and really love it,” Peters said.

Evolution and growth are two words that aren’t necessarily heard a lot when it comes to bookstores. So, hoow is this store so successful?

“We don’t even have a marketing budget. We don’t do any paid advertising,” Peters said.

Social media and author expertise help advertise the store, according to Peters.

Barbara Peters, Owner of Poisoned Pen Bookstore

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