Why Used Bookstores are So Satisfying

Lines in Midtown

When you visit a used bookstore you may stumble across a great find!  🙂

Over at Literary Hub, Kelsey Rexroat offers some great advice on how to shop at a used bookstore.  Here is a taste:

Summer is a good season for bookstores. As the weather warms, more foot traffic passes by on the street. Front doors can be left open to entice wander-ins. The relaxed flow of summer reading lends itself to spontaneous finds plucked from the shelf instead of purposeful winter tomes. And visitors tend to linger as the daylight hours lengthen.

At least some do. There’s another type of customer encounter that happens at least once a shift at the used bookstore where I work, sometimes a dozen times. A customer walks in, beelines to where I’m helming the front desk, and asks a variation of the same question: “Do you have this specific book?”

I’ve worked at the register for two used bookstores—the nonprofit Housing Works Bookstore in New York City’s Soho and the cooperatively run Adobe Bookstore in San Francisco’s Mission District—so I’ve fielded this question hundreds of times. It’s usually easy to answer. Often I know immediately that we don’t have the book in question, simply because it’s a new release. Used books have to be circulated to the public, digested, and then passed through households and among friends like persistent rumors before they make their way to us. For older titles, our inventory isn’t catalogued and changes daily, but I’m more than happy to search our stock in the relevant section, with occasional success.

Read the entire piece here.

It’s all about serendipity.