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Hapax Legomenon
05-25-2014, 07:55 AM
I'm curious about this because recently a lot of new bookstores have closed around here and multiple used bookstores have opened in relatively close proximity. So... is this a trend everywhere in the US or is it just a curiosity where I live? If it's a trend, is it because of the recession, ereaders, or people trying to be more eco-friendly, or some combination?

frimble3
05-25-2014, 08:54 AM
I'm curious about this because recently a lot of new bookstores have closed around here and multiple used bookstores have opened in relatively close proximity. So... is this a trend everywhere in the US or is it just a curiosity where I live? If it's a trend, is it because of the recession, ereaders, or people trying to be more eco-friendly, or some combination?

I don't know if it's just where you are, but I recall a time when used bookstores were everywhere, or at least, every few blocks or shopping centers.
Then rents went up and those low margin little operations vanished. (The fancier places with hardcover books, some valuable stock and specialization were a somewhat different game, but the cheaper ones were mainly paperback, aisles and aisles of paperbacks.)
I think you're right: it's the recession that would have brought them back. In a lot of areas I would imagine landlords are more willing to reduce rents, just to have tenants keeping the lights on. People are looking for less expensive entertainment, and to recoup at least part of the price they pay for 'real' books, by reselling them.
Also, thanks to the internet, a bookseller who takes the trouble, and expense, to acquire quality books can put them up on-line, and make some money off out-of-town sales, that in the 'olden days' just wouldn't have happened, unless the shop was posh enough to have catalogues and mailing lists.

dangerousbill
05-25-2014, 09:19 AM
I'm curious about this because recently a lot of new bookstores have closed around here and multiple used bookstores have opened in relatively close proximity.


Old-time bookstores are nearly gone with the wind, since they can't stand up to the marketing power of Amazon, B&N and other giants. Buyers would browse the small shops, then go home and order the book online at a cheaper price.

Used bookstores, on the other hand, can offer even lower prices than the giants, and are more suited to the independent shop business model. Our local public library runs a used bookstore out of the library building, and a local entrepreneur runs three enormous used bookstores, each the size of a supermarket. And then there's a host of smaller used bookstores. This in a city of just 500,000 people.

Chris P
05-25-2014, 09:37 AM
I think used bookstores are a boutique industry only suited to larger markets. When I lived in Mississippi from 2001 to 2012, there were almost no used bookstores anywhere. Oxford (home of U of Miss) has a very famous one, but Starkville (home of Miss State U) has none; we had to drive two or three hours to Oxford or Memphis. Jackson, the state capital, didn't even have one that I was ever able to find, and neither did Tupelo, Meridian, or Hattiesburg.

What were more common were book exchanges, where you would bring three books and then get to take one for free. The economic benefits for the customer never made much sense to me, and I always found the selection less interesting than the used bookstores--mostly supermarket romances.

Around 2010, the Barnes and Noble in Starkville, which had only been open a year or two, cut its non-textbook inventory fully in half, and replaced the space with MSU hoodies, sweatshirts, and cowbells. If there is any place that needs LESS cowbell, it's a bookstore. But, they need to sell what makes them money.

RightHoJeeves
05-25-2014, 01:29 PM
It's so interesting the sort of shops that thrive in certain areas. Where I live there are literally dozens of really great book stores, and new ones opening up from time to time. It's the big ones like Dymocks and Angus & Robertson and Borders that have all closed. Apart from the individual people who have lost their jobs, it doesn't seem such a bad thing that the independents have survived while the huge boring chains have gone.

brainstorm77
05-25-2014, 02:46 PM
There were many used bookstores where I live. Now there is one that sells a combination of new and used. It's not doing well from what I hear. The thrift stores here sell used books, but their shelves are not as full as they used to be either. I'm in Canada.

Ken
05-25-2014, 03:20 PM
the used bookstore by me was owned by two grumpasauruses
from the moment I came in till the moment I left they did nothing but scowl
occasional they even commented on books I bought which didn't meet their approval

good riddance

PorterStarrByrd
05-25-2014, 03:31 PM
Used book stores have felt the pinch of the economy, and benefited it from it a little as well. There are, in my area fewer of the newer ones while the well stocked older ones continue to plug along. They almost always have books you can't find on Abe or E-bay or Amazon.

Hapax Legomenon
05-25-2014, 05:34 PM
the used bookstore by me was owned by two grumpasauruses
from the moment I came in till the moment I left they did nothing but scowl
occasional they even commented on books I bought which didn't meet their approval

good riddance

Whaaaaaaat

You're buying their stock and they don't approve? That's no way to do business!!

The used bookstores here sell some combination of new and used and one sells a lot of games and movies as well, and the other also sells vinyl, so that may be what's keeping them around. I went to one yesterday and I could not understand where they were getting their new stock. When I picked up a Brandon Sanderson's Way of Kings new trade paperback, on the back it said something like "UK only" and had a price in pounds... I don't know if that should seem sketchy :p

Anyway because I usually go to bookstores looking for specific, older, non-classic titles, used ones are always a mixed bag. Incredibly I found some of the books I wanted the last time I went.

Chris P
05-25-2014, 05:42 PM
Actually, when I wants something specific I go to Amazon or other outlets. When I want to browse and be surprised by taking a chance on something, nothing beats a brick and mortar store. But I'm sure that will change as I get more used to ebooks.

Ken
05-25-2014, 05:46 PM
Anyway because I usually go to bookstores looking for specific, older, non-classic titles, used ones are always a mixed bag. Incredibly I found some of the books I wanted the last time I went.

In general, used books stores are ... were cool. None by me anymore. B&N gobbled them up. :e2teeth:

Amazon is my goto now. Maybe one day I'll get with the times and buy a Kindle or Nook or whatnot.

shakeysix
05-25-2014, 06:03 PM
I like second hand books because of the wacky margin notes, recipe additions and handwritten dedications you often find in them. Like "To Joanie from Aunt Joan. Hope you are feeling better." in the front page of "A Wrinkle in Time."

Crazy, but that is why I bought that book. I'm reading it to a grand daughter now, but it took up bookcase space for 4 years.

I also like old textbooks, Spanish and English mainly, because of the silly things kids write in them. I have a digested copy of Don Quixote that has "My balls ITCH!" scrawled across a page of Don Q. in armor. The wit who wrote it drew an arrow to show the exact location of the itch. I laughed for a full five minutes when I found that one. When I retire next year and start missing kids at least I will have their commentary.

One of my favorite categories is second hand cookbooks. Sometimes the pages are messy but they are worth it for the margin notes--"Too much cayenne pepper. Cut in half!!!!!!!!" --s6

patskywriter
05-25-2014, 06:49 PM
Durham's population is around 200,000. We have a couple of Barnes & Nobles; the best-known used bookstore is Nice Price (there's another one in Chapel Hill). But what I've noticed lately is book-giveaway boxes—I've seen them in toy stores, community centers, and in front of the homes of friendly book lovers. I'd like to see them in low-income housing projects. In fact, I just might look into starting one for the public-housing area near me.

V.J. Allison
05-25-2014, 07:09 PM
I'm on the southwest coast of Nova Scotia, and we have a few used bookstores here. One went under because their prices were sky high - almost cover price even for a book in terrible condition - and the other ones seem to be doing okay, from what I'm seeing.

I used to work in a thrift store (chain owned and operated out of Atlantic Canada), and their used book section was always decent. When we go in there to look for clothing for our son or us, there's always people in that particular section of the store, and I see a lot of books in people's baskets.

I guess it depends on the people living in any given area. Do they prefer going to a bookstore or thrift store to browse the shelves, or do they prefer a spot like Amazon?

Me, it's either way. I find the one retail, new books only, store in the area to have idiots working at it, and they don't have a great selection of the stuff I'm interested in. I'll shop at a thrift store, go to the city (Halifax-Dartmouth) or shop online at Amazon if I can't find a certain book locally.

Vito
05-25-2014, 07:09 PM
the used bookstore by me was owned by two grumpasauruses
from the moment I came in till the moment I left they did nothing but scowl
occasional they even commented on books I bought which didn't meet their approval

good riddance

Back in the 1990s I bought most of my grad school books at used shops. On one of my shopping trips, the bookseller/proprietor sneered, snorted, or chuckled as he entered each item on the cash register. When I asked him what was wrong, he made it clear that he didn't agree with some of the authors' political views. The books I was purchasing were written by a variety of writers with a variety of viewpoints, but he simply couldn't resist an opportunity to spew his political opinions.

He also put a yellow mustard thumbprint on one of the books, because he was eating a deli sandwich when he rang up my transaction. I politely asked him to remove the mustard-book from my order -- he complied, but only after giving me the Evil Eye for a few seconds. :ROFL:

So, good riddance to that guy!

Ken
05-25-2014, 09:57 PM
the bookseller/proprietor sneered, snorted, or chuckled as he entered each item on the cash register.

That about sums it up with my experience, too, along with commentary as:

- "This kid's book is for your kid?" No. It's for me. "Oh. I see." :crazy:

gothicangel
05-25-2014, 10:14 PM
I live in NE England and we have Barter Books in Alnwick. It's in the old train station (famous for discovering the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster) and it's a tourist attraction in its own right. I go once a month, and always come away with amazing books. :)

Brightdreamer
05-25-2014, 10:17 PM
Actually, when I wants something specific I go to Amazon or other outlets. When I want to browse and be surprised by taking a chance on something, nothing beats a brick and mortar store. But I'm sure that will change as I get more used to ebooks.

This is my experience, too. I used to try to frequent the local B&N, but I got sick of not being able to find what I was looking for - even new, popular titles. (I also got tired of finding intriguing titles only to realize it was Book 3 of 7, and no sign of Book 1. And I found the help to be increasingly unhelpful, displacing browsing customers to the point where I gave up even trying to shop more than once.) When I know what I want, I head to Amazon these days. I'm 99% sure they'll have it.

As for local experience, we've lost more bookstores than we've gained, though I have to say that, in the case of the smaller indie used stores, they shot themselves down. One moved to an inconvenient hole of a location, lit by clamp-on lights on the shelves, with no heating. (No, I'm not kidding.) Funnily enough, they closed down shortly thereafter. The other moved into one of the highest-rent locations in the area and barely stayed open a year, and the shelves were always half-empty. All we have left, really, is B&N and Half Price Books... and the latter's feeling has shifted significantly since they started bringing in bestsellers.

My e-readers are getting a fair bit of use, both Kindle and Nook. I don't think they'll ever completely replace paper books, but darned if they're not convenient, for shopping and for reading.

Vito
05-25-2014, 11:01 PM
That about sums it up with my experience, too, along with commentary as:

- "This kid's book is for your kid?" No. It's for me. "Oh. I see." :crazy:

Hey, Ken...let's hope they don't find out that both of us are big "Tom & Jerry" fans! :scared:

benbradley
05-25-2014, 11:16 PM
I've been in a funk since Oxford Too in Atlanta closed.

Taylor Harbin
05-25-2014, 11:50 PM
I've been noticing more used bookstores since I began reading for pleasure. Might be only one or two in a given town, but I've never been disappointed.

I've snagged multiple first editions and vintage hardcovers at dirt cheap prices.

I love them. So much character.

RhodaD'Ettore
05-26-2014, 12:03 AM
There is ONE used book store in southern New Jersey that I know about... and it is in a tourist center. Our college campuses' bookstores are owned by B&N. I used to have a paperback trader here... after 40 yrs, he closed his doors. Its sad. I'm also surprised that I do not see the book of the month clubs around that much any more. I seriously have about 500 books from those catalogues. I still have only bought one book online--and that was out of print from the 70s. I never understood the idea of seeking reviews for works. No offense to anyone here... but we ALL have different tastes. How am I as a reader looking at a review supposed to know if the guy who wrote the review was a moron, or a genius with no common sense?

Its sad to see the stores all go :(

MaryMumsy
05-26-2014, 12:36 AM
Here in metro Phoenix we have numerous BN, a few indie shops, and several used stores (not counting thrift/'antique' shops). I do most of my buying from Poisoned Pen. I also go to one of the used shops, although the past couple of years that has been mostly giving them extras from my piles. ie: somehow I ended up with three (3) hardcover copies of the same book. I gave them two. Probably 15-20 books over the last two years. The used store is very good about getting you things from other places if they don't have a specific book you want. I've had them order things in for me several times.

MM