Walls of Books: A neighborhood staple for locals and guests

Pablo Sierra opened Walls of Books, a used bookstore in Washington, DC’s Park View neighborhood, early this year and already, it’s a local hit.

“There was a problem here and that problem needed to be solved,” says Pablo, who also manages the store. “Pent up demand has always been there: a bookstore that has books that are good quality that are not $30.”

But from day one, Pablo’s vision for a local bookstore also included supporting the surrounding area, so he and his team set out to make sure Walls of Books attracted locals and visitors of all ages.

“We do a lot of programs,” he says, “a creative writing group every Thursday, story time for kids on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We have a book club that meets every month. The books are typically about the neighborhood or urban development or gentrification.”

Photo by Erin Schaff for Airbnb. September 2, 2016.Within a few months of opening, Pablo also started talking to the local home sharing community and quickly had an Airbnb sticker in his front window that reads: “Community loved local business.”

Pablo says it was a no-brainer.

“We provide affordable books and programs, and events, that are focused on the community and if people are using Airbnb for that local touch… that’s a tremendous opportunity,” he explains. “I know if I was some place and staying with Airbnb and had a list of events in the local community, I would go and see what’s there.”

Today, Pablo and his staff experience exactly that, with guests frequently stopping in after exploring the neighborhood or hearing about a great small business from their hosts.

“Any marketing that’s free or word of mouth is good for my business and other businesses as well.”

Photo by Erin Schaff for Airbnb. September 2, 2016.

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