An ‘Ah-Ha!’ Moment: Shopping Locally for Books

07.11.13 / federal street books

I got sad yesterday because I have a very tiny bank account right now, while I wait to start getting paid enough from work to really save, and I was craving a trip to Barnes & Noble. As I sat on the couch pouting, I realized there was a way to fix this “money for books” problem a bit come next payday: in town, we have an eccentric little used book store not far from the apartment. Dan and I have been in once and didn’t buy anything, but only because we hadn’t gone in intending to (and I had no cash, as usual, and wasn’t sure if they took cards).

The store is tiny, maybe the size of two of the rooms in our apartment, and it’s that perfect kind of unorganized where everything is in a place with a label, but you’re still better off just browsing and stumbling upon a gem than actively trying to find something. Books sit stacked on stools and boxes on the floor. The bookcases are at odd angles so you have to squeeze your way through a few. And the whole place is full of that familiar smell of old, unopened books. To be honest, I’m surprised we’ve only been in once.

The more I think about it, the more I’d really like to buy my books a little more locally. The used book store always has some interesting things I might not have picked out otherwise, and the independent book store is just cute. It’s small, so it doesn’t always have what I want (in which case I will go to Barnes & Noble), but I want it to start being my first stop when I have a book in mind. I’ve already gotten a few there and had good experiences each time, so I think this is a positive step to giving something to this new community of mine.

Too bad I’m not allowing myself to buy any new books until I finish the ones on my summer reading list.

Do you have any local book stores that you love?

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7 thoughts on “An ‘Ah-Ha!’ Moment: Shopping Locally for Books

  1. I love the book store in Brattelboro, VT next to the now defunct “Sarki’s Market”. It is immense, but also very cluttered and has no rhyme or reason to how the store is set up. I have found most of my collection of Jodi Picoult and angsty teenage books there… I also love to go to the flea market and Savers for books–so many awesome finds!

    • Library book sales can also be really great! I finally went to one a few weeks ago here, and ended up leaving with an armful of books for five or six dollars. I’ll have to check out the Brattleboro store, because we’re only about 20 minutes away.

  2. The used book store here in town, is all the way across town from where I live. I’ve actually never been there! But I went to a rad used bookstore in boulder, co (or it could’ve been Denver) and another in Portland. I love the book smell and there’s almost always a cute coffee shop near by. Now I want to stop in my local store next time I get a chance. 🙂 ps I think supporting local/your community is amazing!

  3. Although it isn’t exactly local…. I really love to buy my books (including text books) from betterworldbooks.com
    They donate their proceeds to funds that help teach people how to read and sponsor libraries as well as donating books. Of course, nothing can really beat that small-town used bookstore feel – Barnes & Noble couldn’t ever really compare!

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  6. This is such a wonderful aha moment! There’s only one local bookstore that I can think of close to me, and I’d love to make it my first thought when I think “I need books!”. I think my problem is, though, that I’m looking for a particular book and Barnes & Noble-type places are more suited to that, versus wandering through the stacks and finding an unintentional gem. Just taking the time to peruse and explore would probably yield some wonderful reading material, if only I can learn to let go of “I need THIS book” and just take the time to discover new things.

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