I was on the way to a late lunch with the family today and I suddenly sighted a used bookstore that I had never seen before. As I often frequent the local bookstores (and by “frequent” I mean “troll”), nobody was more shocked them I was to find that I missed one. What surprised me even more was that they were open on a Sunday! This is rare for the Mom & Pop used bookstore shops. I took it as a sign. I interrupted our family’s quest for edibles (though my wife will inaccurately tell you that I slammed on the brakes) and pulled into the parking lot of Book Corner.
It was a small storefront in what is usually reserved for small offices. I was immediately greeted by the friendly staff and told that all books (except the collectibles) are only 10 percent of the cover price – that’s 90% off. Adhering to John’s Law of Buying Books, the fantastic price was offset by an unspectacular selection. There were six shelves of science fiction & fantasy mass-market paperbacks, three of which were consumed by Star Wars and Star Trek books. The hardback SF was so sparse that it was intermingled with mere fiction. No, I wasn’t blown away by the selection by any means. Even so, it was a good day for Mars-related SF. I found pristine copies of Mars Crossing by Geoffrey A. Landis and The Martian Race by Gregory Benford, both under a buck. I also scooped up a hardback version of The SFWA Grand Masters, Volume II edited by Frederik Pohl even though, biblioholic that I am, I already own a paperback copy. What else was I to do? it was a $2.60 hardback! Woot!
The staff there was super friendly and the proprietor even apologized for the “poor selection” of the children’s staplebound paperback selection. For the record, my daughter and I didn’t care. She was enjoying it tremendously (it’s in the genes, you know). Truth be told, their kids book selection was pretty respectable. My daughter walked away an Amelia Bedelia Collection, a Danny and the Dinosaur collection and a couple of others for less than five bucks. Even the wife found some books. (New idea for a bad reality TV show [as if there are any other kind]: The Biblioholic Family.)
The daughter of the owner (it’s a family business) said I reminded her of a family friend (a fellow biblioholic) and trusted me enough to show me the storeroom where they keep their wares while they are catalogued, cleaned, evaluated. If you’ve never seen the store room of a used bookstore before, it’s like the store front except there’s…more books! I was told the store gets its stock from auctions sells them on the cheap. What they feel they cannot sell, they donate to charity. They don’t buy books from the public because they sell them so cheap that they can’t offer much in order to still make a profit.
Although the SF selection was sparse, I was informed that there was a big classic SF collection that was still being processed. They said they get book deliveries three times a week. Needles to say, my positive shopping experience – not to mention finding a new outlet for my biblioholism – means I’ll definitely be going back.