Cottonwood Books is an independent Baton Rouge bookstore that has been able to remain open despite competing with larger retailers. What separates the store from other retailers is its eclectic selection.
At Cottonwood Books, customers can find a range of reading material from children’s books to first editions of books that are signed by the author. There is also a section dedicated to rare and used books, and over 7,000 handpicked new titles to choose from. Some of the books in the rare collection date back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
The variety brings in a wide range of customers, according to the bookstore’s owner, Daniel Plaisance.
“We have high schoolers all the way up to great-grandmas,” Plaisance said.
The store has been open since 1982 and Plaisance has been the owner for the past 34 years. When Plaisance heard that the bookstore was being sold in 1985, he decided to buy the store and add a few thousand titles to his stock. Plaisance accumulated a substantial personal collection through estate sales. His interest in books began in college, when he started working in a bookstore to help pay his tuition.
“I heard it was for sale, and everybody thought I was nuts because it literally had a few thousand books, and now I probably have about 40,000 books,” Plaisance said.
Despite the large amounts of books in the store, Plaisance knows most of the titles he has in stock. In addition to the rare and used materials, there are also books on everything from poetry to philosophy and Louisiana history.
“That’s another thing that customers are surprised at,” Plaisance said. “If you ask me if we have a certain title, six out of eight times, I can tell them before I get up to check stock.”
Cottonwood Books does not purchase secondhand books, but they do allow people to trade in used books.
The store has managed to stay in business for decades despite competition from the neighboring chain bookstores, proving that Cottonwood Books is here to stay. The store is located at 3054 Perkins Rd and is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.