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National Bookmobile Day with Sunny's Book Truck


By Zoe Perzo

I personally have a weakness for Bookmobiles. There’s something magical about the ability to bring books literally anywhere and the ability to do so much with such a small space. So I wanted to take advantage of National Bookmobile Day on April 10 and feature a bookmobile.

Sunny's Book Truck owner, CJ Alberts

Enter Sunny’s Book Truck in Yuma, Arizona. What started as a bookmobile-only operation has recently made the transition to brick-and-mortar. I sat down with the owner, CJ Alberts to learn about Sunny’s and the differences and difficulties of operating a bookmobile and a physical store.  

Owner CJ Alberts’ life revolves around books. 

“By day, I work as a Marketing Manager in publishing,” she said. “I've always been a ferocious reader and started making content about books on YouTube during the pandemic. This really reinvigorated my reading in addition to building so many amazing bookish friendships and connecting with others on all things books.”

While bookselling wasn’t always the plan, Alberts realized opening a bookstore was an excellent way to continue to build those kinds of connections.

“I come from a very entrepreneurial family and have always had starting my own business in some capacity on my radar, so I took the leap and started where I could with what resources I had, which for me was starting Sunny's Book Truck!”

In 2022, Sunny’s opened as an entirely mobile operation, built on the back of a modified Japanese mini truck. The truck was a success, and appeared regularly at community events!

A yellow mini truck with a shelf of books.

In August of last year, Sunny’s made the jump to brick-and-mortar bookselling. After a solid year of mobile operation, Alberts said the transition has been “both fulfilling and challenging.”

Where the book truck had a flexible schedule and focused on offering used books at accessible prices, Sunny’s permanent location demands consistent hours and has expanded their collection to include new books.

While Alberts admitted it's been an “ongoing learning experience,” the transition has been going well.

“The physical store has facilitated deeper connections with repeat customers, fostering a stronger sense of community, especially as the only independent bookstore in Yuma, situated in the historic downtown Main Street district!”

In addition to running Sunny’s, Alberts is still working full-time, so she’s added a couple staff members to help out — a part-time bookseller and her father.

“Sunny's is very much a small, scrappy family-run business,” Alberts said. “My dad, Joe, is retired and thankfully is able to work in the store when I can't be there due to my day job. It also helps that he's family and works for free — you can't beat that price!” 

A table full of books sits in front of blue and yellow mural.

Not to mention their canine coworker, Maggie. To the delight of Sunny’s customers, Joe’s corgi is a regular at the shop.

While the original book truck has been dormant since the brick-and-mortar opening, Alberts assured me it’s not gone. She’s eager to take the truck out again once the physical store is more settled. 

As she has this whole journey, Alberts is carefully but steadily expanding Sunny’s offering in the ways that work best for her. 

“My main piece of advice for anyone looking to become a bookseller is to start where you can with what you have,” she said. “It's not feasible or attainable for most people to get the capital to open a brick-and-mortar from day one. Carving out a path for yourself that starts on a smaller scale is a really good on-ramp and training ground for business ownership and will force you to be nimble and pragmatic from day one.”

If you’re in the Yuma area, stop by Sunny’s physical location (or look for their book truck in the future at community events)! You can also visit them online on their website, Instagram, or Facebook

Sunny’s Book Truck has become known for their creative merchandise. They partner with outside designers for their unique bookish designs. You can visit their website to check out their current merch and keep an eye out for the release of their summer collection.