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Housed in the century-old Wright Opera House building on Denton's Town Square, Recycled Books stocks, hands down, the town's most comprehensive collection of local band and artist compact discs, cassette tapes and vinyl records. A second-hand bookshop in the vein of an independent Half Price Books, Recycled is filled with row after row of used books, compact discs, vinyl records, DVDs and VHS tapes—but the local music racks are one of the only sections devoted to new merchandise.
Recycled employee Aaron Leis manages the store's local music section, which has become a reference library of sorts for those wanting to expose themselves to Denton music. Leis says, "People regularly wander in and ask us, 'So, where do I get started on all these local bands in the scene? What's good?'"
While each Recycled employee may recommend a handful of different bands to check out first, the store has a listening station and a couple of boxes of demo CDs of local artists for customers to discover the bands on their own. Recently, Leis helped a young girl who ended up spending two hours taking notes as she listened to the demos.
"I like to be able to keep at least one copy of every artist and album that's available," Leis says, adding that it's hard to keep up with all the bands. "In one week, I've had as many as three bands I've never heard of walk in with a stack of their CDs."
Occasionally, he'll see a new band playing a show at one of the town's venues, and he'll approach them about carrying their CDs.
"If it's local and it's music, then I want to carry a copy of it," he says. "And I don't like to be an arbiter of what does or doesn't constitute good music or art."
With that kind of all-inclusive attitude toward roughly 100 bands and artists currently calling Denton home (added to scores of bands from years past), it's no wonder Recycled's local collection has grown so large.
"Soon, we're gonna have to move the section to somewhere else in the store just to accommodate it all," Leis says. "The whole section is bursting right now."
But Recycled doesn't operate on consignment. Bands and artists are paid in cash for their wares, which Leis admits can be problematic: "Some CDs just won't ever sell, and we've been burned on occasion," he says. "We also have had to become a little more critical, because sometimes people need cash, and they'll bring in a CD-R of a so-called side project that's not much more than farting on a snare drum."
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