Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Used Book Store Love

Contemporary fiction, published in 1906.
The other day I was sorting books after a busy summer in our store and I came across NEDRA. At first I thought it was historical fiction, but on closer inspection I realized it was just a very, very old book, published in 1906. This book was around when the Titanic sank, survived two world wars, and is still in decent shape and entirely readable.

In my store I sell vintage and antique items, including an entire loft of books. I was sharing this with someone at a writer's conference recently, and he said he didn't like used book stores because he thought they were bad for publishing. When I asked how, he said every used book people buy is a new book they don't. I'm not sure this is true. I think used bookstores can be wonderful in many ways:

1. Provide a low-cost alternative for people who might not otherwise buy books.

2. Introduce readers to new authors. I put relatively new releases I've already read on the shelves all the time. A number of readers have bought my lightly-used books, then come back asking if I have more by those authors. Usually I don't, and customers have to go to "real" bookstores to buy books by their new favorite authors.

3. A place to find rare and out-of-print books, like NEDRA.

That being said, I am in the process of expanding into a few new books, too. I would like to have an area featuring Michigan authors as well as an Inspirational fiction section.

Do  you ever buy at used book stores?

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