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sc2212 t1_j9zjjgs wrote

Used bookstores are one of my favorite places to be. I’ve often gone in and found myself leaving hours later with a dozen or more finds — sometimes needing a box to get them all home. There’s something about the unknown of what I’ll find that keeps me going back. I’ve discovered lots of authors by coming across their works in a disorganized pile buried in a used bookstore.


DCRealEstateAgent t1_j9zvett wrote

I remember buying books on Amazon from various used book stores and then went to Texas to visit a friend and drove by one of the bookstores I had purchased from. It was like I saw someone famous I was so excited!


FusRoDaahh t1_ja0dyrs wrote

Same. I can spend hours exploring used bookstores and I’m really lucky because there’s a lot of great ones near me.


Lmoorefudd t1_ja0fej1 wrote

Nothing better than picking a book based on its spine, then judging them based on the cover. Oh yes, I judge a book by its cover. Open aforementioned cover to find reviews. If a newspaper from a city I’ve lived in made the cut it’s a purchase. Well, I’ll at least hold on to it as I walk around wondering if I need the book. And what about the classics? Should I finally read that penguin classic edition of the book I vaguely recall as seminal? Better double back and see if they have my holy grail, Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker.


meachatron t1_ja0jqx8 wrote

We have one in Penticton, BC, Canada called the Book Shop that is labyrinthine.. its my go to place when I feel out of place or misaligned with life and the world.


darkest_irish_lass t1_ja1h8xo wrote

Black Star books was mine. It doesn't exist anymore, sadly. It was in the city, but when you walked in there was the kind of hush that's only caused by packing every nook and cranny with layers and layers of closely bound paper.


meachatron t1_ja8s5t9 wrote

Aww I'm so sorry they closed :( That is a great way to describe it. I only ever buy books from there because I am terrified they might close down one day..


RobertoBologna t1_j9zt41b wrote

Knowing that the books are cheap allows you to let your curiosity lead you. A place filled with $25 books doesn’t do that.


BatheMyDog t1_ja00s5n wrote

There’s a place in Ohio called Dollar Book Swap. It’s a warehouse full of used books and every book is $1 no matter what. It’s heaven. Smelled bad. Quite musty smelling. But still heaven.


Ok-Horror-282 t1_ja3jgh6 wrote

I’d love to check that out one day. The mustier the better when it comes to bookstores imo.


bhbhbhhh t1_ja02h24 wrote

A regular bookstore's selection of books published more than a few years ago will range from okay to abysmal.


RobertoBologna t1_ja03r5w wrote

Ehh I feel it’s the opposite. I think it’s the newest books that are the most hit or miss, the ones that have been through a few printings have survived for a reason.


bhbhbhhh t1_ja0dwtw wrote

I'm not talking about the quality of individual books. I'm talking about the selection. Your Barnes and Noble will only have a sliver of the books that have "been through a few printings," while carrying a much higher percentage of the books that have recently been released.


RobertoBologna t1_ja0l9ga wrote

I don’t think it’s true that B&N has only a sliver of books that have been through a few printings. I’d guess only 20 or 30% of the store is new releases. What’s boring about a B&N is that each time you go is mostly the same experience because that other 70-80% of books gets reordered from the publisher when a copy is bought, whereas a used bookstore could have entirely new books from one visit to the next.


bhbhbhhh t1_ja0ob2m wrote

> I’d guess only 20 or 30% of the store is new releases.

80% of a regular-sized store is maybe a small percentage of the size of the building you'd need to gather up every book in the language that's been through multiple print runs. You need a warehouse.


bhbhbhhh t1_ja91cij wrote

I said “only have a sliver of the,” not “only have a small portion of the shelves be dedicated to the”


DeterminedStupor t1_ja1agw8 wrote

> Knowing that the books are cheap allows you to let your curiosity lead you.

Yes! Though I didn’t buy it second-hand, I wouldn’t have read Ulysses if it had been $18 or more. I bought the cheap Wordsworth edition for about $3, and it’s one of my favorite books now.


Niku-Man t1_ja1jhkg wrote

Also library doesn't seem to do that for most people. There's something about the potential for ownership that adds to it, like it's not just a potential source of reading material, but also a shelf/coffee table piece to display your mental prowess for years to come


RobertoBologna t1_ja1ltiq wrote

I think it somewhat depends on the library’s collection, but overall you’re right. I think a big thing is the feeling of scarcity. If you decide not to buy something at a chain store, you can expect it to be there the next time you’re there. The same is true of the library, though you may have to wait for it. At a used bookstore, that may be the only copy that ever comes into that store. If you don’t buy it and don’t write down the name/author, you may not ever be able to find it again.


Griffen_07 t1_ja5gqmk wrote

It’s the curation aspect. I volunteered at my hometown library for 4 years shelving books. After 2 I noticed the kinds of books that were stocked and what never made it through the doors. Used bookstores tend to go deeper on non-mystery/romance/thriller that form the majority of most libraries.


vivahermione t1_j9zywcv wrote

So true. That just makes me stand there frozen in indecision until I end up leaving empty-handed. 🫤


dominion1080 t1_ja3moku wrote

Yeah. The $25 shop is just for new releases. At least for me. I buy the rest of my books used.


RobertoBologna t1_ja3q76l wrote

Yup. New releases or if there’s a specific book I want to give as a gift.


shaitanibaccha t1_j9zwohy wrote

A big part of the reason I visit used bookstores is the book discovery process. If I want a book then I know where to get it. It will take be couple of clicks on Amazon to buy the book and save me the hassle of going to a store. However, even after reading consistently on a Kindle for almost a decade, Amazon still hasn't figured out what I enjoy reading. Bookstores, on the other hand provide that experience in abundance. More often, the personal letters written inside the covers can sell a book better than the story/subject matter itself.


Volcano_Tequila t1_ja08o8i wrote

Yes, I think that is what it is: the sense of discovery. A good used bookstore may look random but it is not, it has an organization to it, and if you master it, you find discoveries scattered among more conventional offerings. I still recall the glee I experienced at Strand Bookstore in New York in 2000 when I fell upon a copy of an old mystery book that you could not find anywhere, online or on eBay or anywhere, and it was $4.00 to boot. The book is still next-to-impossible to find, but hey world, I've got a copy of it, so there! :)


Y_Brennan t1_ja2abt4 wrote

I have been looking for a book through second hand bookstores across the world. Yes I could buy it of Amazon, I would take it from the library if they had it but I really want to find this particular book in a second hand bookstore, I have come close I found traces of it but no luck yet.


bhbhbhhh t1_ja0285y wrote

It's the likelihood of finding books that no one in the world has read or even thought about in the past 20 years. An intimate feeling, between the author and me. "I'm the only one who knows who you are."


PrivacyPlease-_- t1_ja1gvgb wrote

A beautiful sentiment and a true one. I've never thought to put it into words but I have experienced this many times :)


ZamoriXIII t1_j9zndcs wrote

The entire place is filled with love. The unwritten stories that those pages hold are, oftentimes, just as powerful as the printed words. These books were taken care of and passed down with reverence.


RedpenBrit96 t1_ja06r9n wrote

Supporting a local business while stepping back in time while also feeling cozy what’s not to like?


aadamjoyce t1_ja12xvn wrote

Just add a cat to the mix and I'll never leave


Paddlesons t1_ja05tpc wrote

Because it's real and feels that way.


cuddly_cali t1_ja05f1w wrote

The smells, the notes found in the used books, or old bookmarks and dog earred corners. I love it all


gemmadonati t1_ja0wfgx wrote

Yup, same to me. The article quotes someone complimenting the smell: "It’s the smell that seduces me. Like incense." (It turns out there's a good reason, the lignin in paper produces vanilla-like compounds when it decomposes.)

I'm from East Texas, and their libraries smelled like that when I was a kid. They had air conditioning by that time but it was recent enough that the "biblichor" (if I can coin the word - see "petrichor") persisted. Incense, yes.


dsynfolt t1_ja162ib wrote

Biblichor is already the word for the smell of libraries and bookshops (old books).
You can't coin it or mint it, but you can use it.


Mazmier t1_ja2535f wrote

Vellichor is another specific to used bookstores.


Logiwonk_ t1_ja0p43m wrote

I'm pretty sure the glue from mass market paperbacks degrades into a compound that is basically musty morphine.


TrinityTen t1_ja080n3 wrote

The vintage feeling.

The air filled with old paper smell.

The beautiful editions.


Machiniac t1_j9zkzgx wrote

The new generations get their phones with unlimited access to everything, but have lost record stores and bookstores. The kids will be alright but I still don’t think it was a fair trade.


PmMeYourBestComment t1_j9zls27 wrote

There are more under 30s than above 30s in most book and record stores I visited in the past few years (NL&UK). Not sure if it’s the new generations that’s the problem


Machiniac t1_j9znhzg wrote

You misunderstand. The new generations are getting screwed by the death of bookstores and record stores, no one is blaming them.


RedpenBrit96 t1_ja070ng wrote

Yeah I second this. As someone from the US I see a bunch of 20 somethings reading print books in used bookstores Edit: Ah! Yes you are indeed correct and isn’t it sad


ILITHARA t1_ja03igj wrote

There is a small little used bookstore my girlfriend and I went to last weekend. It’s tucked away in a massive brick warehouse turned to a multipurpose space. You need to make an appointment and get a key code to enter. It’s floor to ceiling books. Stacks on stacks. You’re encouraged to go diving. It’s just a treasure trove. So much fun. We left after an hour and a half with a box full of books. Best find that day, first edition of the Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy, in great shape. Used books stores are like time capsules.


tke494 t1_ja06c3q wrote

  1. Books are great, so lots of books are awesome. Some new bookstores, like Barnes and Noble, are branching out into selling other things more. That might have positives for reading, like getting more kids interested in reading. But, it has negatives, like LESS BOOKS. Most used bookstores just sell books.
  2. New books are expensive. As a poor college student, used bookstores were great for getting a collection of books. This conflicts a bit with my tendency toward a desire to have less stuff. Used bookstores help with that, too. They buy books, too. And, I use that money to buy more books.
  3. The one I went to in Chattanooga was huge, with a great selection. That's where I started the collection. But, the design was kind of boring. The really cool ones are converted from something else, and seem to have had shelves added at random. Just PACKED with books. I used to go to one in Pennsylvania. A former residence. The first time I went there, I thought it was decent sized. Then, I discovered the second floor. It also had a kitchen where you could make tea. I think there were some snacks. If they sold anything, it was on an honor system. I think it was the second or third time I went there that I discovered the attic. They had places to sit and read. They held poetry readings there.
  4. The place in Chattanooga was a chain, but most are not.
  5. I prefer used books to new books, even ignoring the price. They give me a sense that someone has already enjoyed this book.

RekindleFire t1_ja0bcju wrote

I know the Barnes & Noble in South Burlington, VT had a decent-sized used book section. I haven’t been since 2019 so I can’t confirm it is still there. It was in the Annex with new books they had on clearance. I’m yet to find another B&N that does this.

Where was the used bookstore in PA? I live near Philly so you have me curious now 😂


tke494 t1_ja11tzc wrote

It was in Carlisle. Outside Harrisburg. I moved away in 2008, so it might not still be there. Even then, the owner made a lot of her money off of online book sales. Another cool thing about the place was one decoration. In the cash register area, the counter and I think the walls were covered with wine corks. Minor, but not the kind of thing you would see in a chain.

I recall a used bookstore in Philly. I drove to Philly once largely for the bookstore. It had a cat. I adore cats. You don't see many cats in stores, though. It wasn't organized well, but that was because they had more books than shelves. Books just stacked on the floor. If I'd lived closer, I probably would have gone there a lot.


JarrickDe t1_ja5amjl wrote

Yeah to McKay's in Chattanooga. They are also in Knoxville, Nashville and two places in North Carolina.


NermalLand t1_ja0i4et wrote

For me it's the randomness. You have no idea when you walk in what you'll find or what you'll walk out with.


ErinAmpersand t1_ja0l3w0 wrote

I think it's at least partly because it's a collectively created monument to a shared truth:

We cannot afford to fully fund our reading addiction alone.

Libraries support this as well, but used bookstores are special, because each is filled with books that have been loved and are now being passed on with greatest possible care.


RndmBrutalLoveMaster t1_j9zu0xk wrote

My mom and I were just talking about how much we hate rummaging through second-hand or discount stores, and would rather pay full price. She mentioned discount stores like Ross or second hand clothing stores, and I mentioned used bookstores. I think some (many?) people love the thrill of the hunt and enjoy having a pre-loved item with history. /r/books definitely makes me feel like the minority here. Otoh I don't mind a well-curated used bookstore, preferably with a selection of new books - several bookstores in San Francisco have this happy medium.


MightySphincter t1_ja01gzi wrote

The smell and endless possibilities. Love them.


eliminate1337 t1_ja06in9 wrote

I mostly read older fantasy/sci-fi, classics, philosophy, and history, so used bookstores are much more likely to have a selection that interests me. I also prefer worn-in copies that I don't feel like I have to baby.

One of my favorites is finding an old mass-market fantasy classic for like, three dollars.


lucysucks t1_ja09wcs wrote

It’s the curation for me


sthetic t1_ja0jbzy wrote

Agreed. Occasionally I purge my bookshelf and try to sell the books at my local used bookstore. They always say, "We are pretty overflowing with books right now, so we aren't looking for anything new, but we'll take a look anyway while you go browse our shelves."

After about 10 minutes, I go back. I am always lucky if they take about half the books. Sometimes I'm bewildered by what they choose and what they reject ("just because you BOUGHT the book here doesn't mean we'll buy it back!"). But that's the reason the shelves are full of treasure.

Once I ordered a new book through them (Les Chants de Maldoror), a service they also provide. A few months later I saw a few copies on the New shelf. "Oh yeah, sometimes we do decide to stock books our customers order, if we see them and like them. Or maybe a bunch of other people besides you started ordering it."

The curation is the best part.


PrivacyPlease-_- t1_ja1i4ow wrote

This speaks to me. I used to manage a small bookstore and although our order forms were sometimes more limited than I would have like, I chose what we sold.

Every month I went through and hand picked what I thought would be appreciated by the community. I got to chose things I thought nobody but me would read and always found myself delighted by the kinship of other readers who saw in that obscure title what I did.

It's been a few years since I left (I'm sure the new manager has a new vision all her own) but I can still remember what shelves held the best reads. It was a privilege to be able to run a bookstore. I hope I'm able to return to the booksellers world in the future, the best vocation!


syllabic_excess t1_ja14btr wrote

Cats. It's the cats. There's a proven correlation between the number of cats in a used bookstore and the selection and quality of books in that store. Known fact.

There's also the interdimensional connections they open through the veil of space-time, but we don't need to get into that here.


Ok-Horror-282 t1_ja3k84g wrote

There’s always at least one roaming cat in the used bookstore I frequent. It definitely sets the mood.


1Rower t1_j9zupzc wrote

Just upon entering a used book store, there is a sense of like minded people that have come before you, and you have so much in common. Other people who you do not know, read books, fall in love and donate. Pulling a used book off a shelve, open to the middle and start to read is like wading in a warm crystal clear lake on a very hot day.


assvision2020 t1_ja0xzie wrote

They're a concentration of chaotic human creativity and love untouched by corporate optimizations


BookMonger101 t1_ja15j9h wrote

My favorite thing is finding something you didn't know you were looking for.


indacingaX t1_j9zrph4 wrote

they are just a great place. rustic and serene. the smell of dead trees every where. seriously tho, the last used bookstore in my city closed in dec 22. now i have to drive 30 minutes. . . Yesterday's bookstore--you will be missed!


Mokamochamucca t1_j9zxygs wrote

For me it's a bit of nostalgia and some magic that other places don't have. As a child there was a bookstore and bindery on our main street that had cats wandering the aisles. Besides the library it was the place I attribute most to nurturing my love of reading. Or in New Orleans there was a bookstore with books precariously stacked throughout and a small box of free books out front. In another one I visited there was a pair of high heels inexplicably sitting on a high shelf behind a register. I asked about them and the woman said she thought the original owner put them there but didn't know for sure. I think they speak to me because each one is like a book to me. Each one is going to have a unique story to tell.


jvreddit231 t1_ja0ebpt wrote

My favorite used bookstore in college was an unorganized mess. It was barely separated into genres, and not at all after that. I saw one person walk out in disgust, since they couldn't find what they were looking for.

I loved it. If books are sorted by author, I quickly lose interest in browsing. This way I was forced to basically spend hours looking at each book to see if it's something that struck my fancy. I totally loved that place.


Pays_in_snakes t1_ja0uzrt wrote

I think the fact that it's probably impossible to make much money doing it helps make the stores better. You can't possibly approach it to get rich, you have to be doing it because you love books and sharing them with people


DCRealEstateAgent t1_j9zv7ns wrote

Oh I could dance through there like it’s a slice of heaven!


Teesside-Tyrant t1_ja0ea4c wrote

There's a wonderful secondhand bookshop in Alnwick, Northumberland. Barter Books. It's set in an old Train Station, and is well worth a visit.


communist_daughter08 t1_ja1m9hp wrote

At my favorite used book store, I once found a pressed four leaf clover in a book of Irish fairy tales. I’ve never had that kind of magic happen at a Barnes and Noble.


FPrince212 t1_ja213wk wrote

It reminds me of my Father, he used to bring me to Bookstores when i'm still little boy lol
We're not rich, and Books are expensif stuff at least for us at that times

The moment of joy in my life, is visiting used Bookstores, it's cheap, and every books have it's own mysteries


gnique t1_ja0bmz6 wrote

I live in Salem, Oregon. The best bookstore in the world is just 60 miles away in Portland........Powell's. But in poor, little, backwater Salam we have a bookstore that is worth a 60 mile drive....Escape Fiction


bitterbrew t1_ja0dod1 wrote

Some people, not me of course, just have a borderline (not borderline) book fetish. An old hardcover book? That old book smell? Oh my.


ijustsailedaway t1_ja0fx9s wrote

The smell of lignin breaking down. So good


32mafiaman t1_ja0hpva wrote

I absolutely love the smell. It’s also a nostalgia thing because my mom would frequent one nearby and would bring me along.


CFD330 t1_ja0jl7o wrote

Cheap hardcovers. We've got a Half Price Books in town and you can often find hardcovers in fantastic shape for $8.


Libro_Artis t1_ja0lp1c wrote

I have to avoid going to used book stores because I always overspend.


Alteredego619 t1_ja0q60a wrote

For me it’s two things: the ‘used book smell’ and the treasures you can stumble upon-open, out of print/hard to find books. Case in point: a few years ago I bought a first edition novel called ‘Lord of the World’ by Robert Hugh Benson, published in 1908. I paid about $106 with tax. It’s in pretty good condition for its age (minus the dust jacket) with some fading on the cover’s lettering. I’ve seen 1945 editions selling for over $400. However, I recently seen the same edition as mine on ABE Books going for $5000. I’m fairly certain that mine is worth we’ll above what I paid for it even if it isn’t as much as the one on ABE’s website.


ChristopherDrake t1_ja0v3yx wrote

It's both a shame that used bookstores have been dying off, and a blessing. Mainly because every shlock genre book that fails on Kindle is a print run that spared a copse of trees.

My personal comparison:

Online Bookstore: Hard to find, niche, targeted purchases.
Ie. I need a reference book on 12th century Persian woodwork. I also heard about a fiction novel with a giant spider as the protagonist through a forum and its only print on demand, damn it, not that I can fault them because being your own publisher sucks. Oooh, what's this, now...? Erotic Klingon Verses... Why? Eh, why not?

First Run Bookstore: Purposeful, general, targeted purchases.
Ie. I want a dessert ideas cookbook.

Used Bookstore: Book Pathfinding and browsing.
Ie. If you find one copy of a well-read book, it has promise; if you find 20 copies of a rarely read book, you've found a stinker. Plus, frugality or bulk purchasing perks...

Library: Entertainment discovery and research at a leisurely pace.
Ie. I need a dictionary. Check that, all of the dictionaries. And topo maps. And microfiche, probably, because that local history research I want to do predates the Internet. Wait, they got a laser cutter? Damn, there goes my afternoon...


frenchpressgirl_ t1_ja11d5h wrote

For me it’s the sense of history. Feeling surrounded by decades worth of old stories and words and pages… it’s so comforting. I love books that are a little beat up and crinkled and have that old paper smell. There’s something magical about it ✨


MikeMoon22 t1_ja12nc7 wrote

It's a comforting atmosphere. There's something about that kind of musty, old book smell that transports me back to my childhood and reading books at our local library.


44035 t1_ja14nju wrote

They have way better selection than bookstores that only stock new titles.


Impossible_Daikon233 t1_ja14wme wrote

The smell. It's almost visceral and feels very comforting. Plus you never know what treasures you will find.


Smooth_Detective t1_ja1g6d6 wrote

It's the novelty and the price. At least for me. You can find really great books for really steal prices. Of course there's also the thrill of finding these books.


Hei_Lap t1_ja1m0u2 wrote

The smell. There’s something about decaying book glue that gets you high.


SalmonUniSashimi t1_ja1qbwf wrote



SoulingMyself t1_ja204yj wrote

It's quiet and it smells like old paper.

I like those two things a lot.


Zoe_118 t1_ja20bbe wrote

Wondering about those who read the books before, what they thought of it, what they were going through at the time, how the book impacted them, why they decided not to keep it, etc.

Also, I love the smell of old books!


heyitscory t1_ja2d0ic wrote

The... the cat, right? The cat. It's the cat.


Newbielurker t1_ja2r9mj wrote

A regular bookstore will sell me what I know I want. A second hand bookstore will sell me what I don’t yet know that I want.


oldgamer67 t1_j9zzlxq wrote

Yes, but that’s not always a good thing. I had a brother who stole basically everything I ever loved during and after my childhood. (This included a handmade clay statue of Bilbo starting off on his journey in plain pale clay with giant cloak and all) So I was dying to find two things, a copy of my mint Woodstock album with the pictures inside on flipping pages, and a copy of the wonderful book of the Disney Haunted Mansion album, with the full color wonderful picture book of the two (incredibly nerdy strong boy and twit girlfriend) kids who explore the mansion. I probably, at very different times of my life, listened to both of these..literally over 40 times each as a child. So I went online. Both Woodstock with the fancy pictures inside, and Disney’s Haunted Manson were insanely expensive. I’m talking several hundred for the Disney, and the super rare Woodstock was the same. No wonder that horrible brother of mine always had money! Even offline at the few (and dusty) record stores I couldn’t find them. So be careful what you throw away! I love big City old bookstores for the weird and wonderful things you come across unexpectedly! But even those have now been combed by ppl who care nothing about memories, fun new penguin authors never heard of, amazing art book collections of painting schools you’d never experienced, sci-fi books never read by one-off authors that were fabulous, or classics you loved. they’ve all been picked clean, valued and put on all the sites; Ebay, Shopify, Facebook Marketplace and hundreds more. No more the fun of finding hundreds of Ellery Queen magazines in fabulous shape. Or the Green Leather bound 1970’s version of The Hobbit I saved by hiding it wrapped up in a plastic bag and old newspapers!


burner46 t1_ja0knxh wrote

It’s the books.


tangcameo t1_ja0pvch wrote

The possibility of what you’ll find. The possibility of what might come through the door. Last one I was at, the kids of a British actor came in wanting to drop off box after box of their fathers books. I wish I had stayed to snoop. The actor had been in Rocky Horror and Doctor Who and had been friends with an award winning playwright. And the kids were just glad to be rid of it. Imagine what treasures might’ve been in those boxes.


KaleidoscopeNo610 t1_ja0u50e wrote

There was in St Pete Fl for years called Haslams and when I lived there I was amazingly broke as I was supporting a 4 member family on a teacher’s salary. I would let my boys get a couple used comics and they were happy. It was room after room of books on shelves, stacked on tables, some new, many used. And of course it closed during the pandemic. I still miss it.


davery67 t1_ja0vhvw wrote

What's great is when a sleazy publisher announces they're having some interns re-write a classic author's work, you can buy the used books instead of the 16 volume special edition which they just happened to have ready to announce within a day or two of raising an uproar and generating loads of publicity and FOMO.

But seriously, I love used book stores. It's so fun to find something out of print or with a really interesting cover or, just different from what you see among the new books.


Impriel t1_ja14gk5 wrote

Good ghosts in the books


Hour-Necessary2781 t1_ja19ni5 wrote

I think it’s the fact that the books are cheaper then they would be at a normal bookstore. Plus, your giving books a second Chance instead of just being thrown away or being left in attic to rot.


power0722 t1_ja1g4jp wrote

I miss the old Elliott Bay book store in Pioneer Square in Seattle. Best book store ever. First place I visited when I moved here in 1990. Ended up buying Tom Robbin's Still Life Wirh Woodpecker (which is set in Seattle) and hanging out in Waterfall Garden Park and reading for hours. Knew I'd moved to the right city as soon as I walked in the door of that store.


muffledvoice t1_ja1koic wrote

The Lyrical Ballad in Saratoga, NY, is one of my old favorites. It was founded over 50 years ago and located in the basement of a building that used to be a bank. You’ll find room after room just filled to the brim with used books, antiquarian books and periodicals, and prints. It even has the original bank vault with brass cage doors and books inside. I’ve shopped there for over 30 years, whenever I find myself in upstate NY. The original owner, John (now deceased), once told me he had twice again as many books in storage.


Cocoamilktea t1_ja1qnsa wrote

Because of Booksale, chain of used bookstores here in the philippines, I was able to get thousand splendid suns, life of pi, angela's ashes, and red rising at cheap prices, the first 2 were in pretty good condition too 🥰


merelycheerful t1_ja1rn6g wrote

Am I the only one to mention the prices?? I wouldn't be able to buy books in person if not for "half price books". Barnes and noble is awesome, but it can eat my ass for its prices


LittleKisu t1_ja1sugx wrote

Smell. The smell is musty and comfortable. Oh, and all the books. Those are good, too.


criscrunk t1_ja1u5xu wrote

Wednesdays at my local Salvation Army is half off books. 50 cents for a hardcover, 25 for soft.


37Cross t1_ja21vu2 wrote

The smell of old books


Quiet-Grocery3213 t1_ja2ay3v wrote

The smell of books, the color of the old papers, and the diversity of genres can't be found in any bookstore that focuses on only selling books. That's my idea.


Hakaisha89 t1_ja2j997 wrote

Several reason, you enjoy books, both the tactile sensation, and the smell, the fact that you also enjoy reading them, and that in your mind older books, or used books gains more value in being used, in being well red, in being loved.
So when you put this into a single location, that is usually cramped, stacked up to the ceiling, so much so, that there might be some bookpillars that are roofbearing, they got the charm of being cramped and small, and the smell of lignin and dust just adds to it, its silent, few people, and a bit outta the way, allowing you time to check the books for something interesting, and here you judge the book by its cover. Maybe something that fits your taste, or at least the spine of the book, maybe you see some keywords that increases your appetite for reading, maybe the lastname of an author you enjoy, maybe a spine that shows its age, as being in bad conditions, and you want to give it a home. It takes your out of the modern era, takes you to the 90s and beyond, no harsh lighting, just old warm light that is just cozy, and not harsh on the eyes, lets you skim the text on the various spines. The sense of nostalgia seems to slow down time, there is nothing but you and these books. The owner is someone up in the age, grey hair, smile lines, and reading glasses, and they are enjoying a book as well, you made eye contacts on entering the store, and the ringing of a brass bell above the door sent you straight into the world of used bookstores.


oPlayer2o t1_ja2mjym wrote

I think it’s the smell of old books. old book smell > new book smell fight me!


ShinyHappyPurple t1_ja2s5t8 wrote

Lots of stuff does not get reprinted. I read romance and a lot of the books are designed to be ephemeral and just to be on the shelves for a short period of time before being replaced with new books.

Also the cost factor. Getting to pick up 10 books for what one new paperback would cost.

On a separate but related note, I need more bookshelves....


TheSpotlightNetwork t1_ja2t0wa wrote

Finding long forgotten treasures, exploring remnants of the past, discovering a Raymond Chandler novel with an inscription…


SlothChunks t1_ja2b4n2 wrote

I would be very careful about romanticizing used bookstores. As many people have found out already book hoarding is a very VERY serious issue. Books are an especially devious type of item because they can easily create feelings of attachment as well get attributed illusion of value. I am a book hoarder and even though I collected many good books, I still wish I had never started.


franhawthorne t1_ja2rtm5 wrote

Of course they're wonderful in the way that used-clothing stores, tag sales, and recycling in general are wonderful: We're saving the planet, saving resources instead of throwing out the old and chopping down trees or digging up minerals to make new stuff, and saving money. Plus, we're discovering hidden gems rather than following the newest ads.

BUT -- Please remember the authors like me: When you buy a used book instead of a new one, you are taking away our income. So....please try to buy a new book (from an indie local bookstore, written by an unknown author) now and then. Thank you.


therightansweristaco t1_ja2umru wrote

As someone who has run large book stores and small, it's all about the people - those behind the counter and those searching the shelves. Nowhere else in retail can you experience that kind of interaction between customers and employees.

Seriously, you don't work in a used bookstore unless you love books. You don't go to a used bookstore unless you love books. Therefore, you're in a place you love surrounded by people who love the things you do. That's a positive place to be.


Ayy-Man t1_ja2xy8u wrote

For me it feels like every book his some history to it. I feel connected to the previous reader and it’s almost like it’s being passed down?


SporkFanClub t1_ja3w4of wrote

A used bookstore that I had been going to since I was a little kid was my first job out of college.

I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed working there. Didn’t really mesh well with my coworkers and absolutely hated my role.

BUT- the books are dirt cheap and I’ve never left that place with less than several books and if it weren’t for the fact that I moved and have another used bookstore half the distance would still drop $20-$30 there in a heartbeat.


Duncan_Idaho_12 t1_ja3x3pz wrote

Pure unadulterated potential for something special…that’s what.


Willowy t1_ja49d8s wrote

So many here saying "the smell", and I don't disagree, but tbh I also love the smell of a new book. Cracking the spine for the first time, fluttering the pages so there's air between them - also probably for the first time, running your hand over the raised ridges of an embossed cover... it's all glorious.

There's much to love about books, but old or new, the smell is definitely a big one.


DWGrithiff t1_ja4wg4v wrote

When I travel I like to check out the used bookstores in whatever city/town I'm in. Besides the fact that they're all unique and worth checking out for their own sake, it's a way to explore neighborhoods you otherwise would have no reason to visit. Often the selection of books will reflect specific things about the community, too, which makes sense since the inventory is largely stuff locals have sold to the store. I remember a store in Bozeman that had a whole section of fiction by authors from Montana (and/or set in Montana). Good stuff, mostly, too.

You can find great stores in college towns too. Boulder, Berkeley, Bloomington, Burlington... probably some cities that don't begin with "B"... One that sticks out in memory was in Lawrence, Kansas. Can't recall the name, but a small, cute store with an interesting collection and good prices. I try to keep bookmarks from the store with whatever I purchased there.


RobotIcHead t1_ja5hvuw wrote

There was an used book near where I used to work, it was a big area and I love reading. The manager always knew so much about books. But one day I heard him correcting a girls grammar, pronunciation and even accent. I could never go back, it destroyed book shops me for a bit. Especially when I heard another friend how great the small independent book store was, I started thinking that Black Books got it’s inspiration from somewhere.


toshirodragon t1_ja67nuh wrote

The people running it are chill, they learn your face and your tastes. I've never been chased out of a used store, can't say the same for B&N.


South_Honey2705 t1_ja75aam wrote

The smell, the hidden history of the books owned by other people previously


Xaihe t1_j9ztq1a wrote

Using Capital Letters For Every Word In A Sentence


RobertoBologna t1_ja03y5s wrote

That’s called title case, and this person used it for the title of their post. It’s fine.