Last week for Aged Pages there was a guest post written by my girlfriend, Jackie Vazquez. She talked about how (with my help) she was introduced to the world of used bookstores and how she found the beauty in her visits to them. I’d like to keep a similar theme for my post this week.
While Jackie isn’t the first person I’ve introduced to the world of used books, I think it’s safe to say she’s the person who’s most appreciated them. I’ve taken many visits to various stores with friends over the years. Some have embraced the magic, while others simply got a few books and may not have considered it something to come back to right away. Whatever the reaction was it was still a great feeling for me.
When I bring a used book virgin into a store for the first time, I become the teacher. My role becomes one of the wise old man of a long ago adventure. I’m the man with all the answers…and often times wearing a beard just like a wise old man (ok not really long but it’s still a beard), and by the time I leave I may be bent over from too much time looking at the lower shelves.
One of the questions I often get first is “how much does this one cost?” That’s simple, most of the bookstores I frequent have a price penciled into the top right corner of the first clean page. Sometimes a book may have a sticker on the back or front covers but that’s not common in my experience.
Other questions are obvious, such as, where is such and such type of book. This is one of my favorite questions. It’s especially fun when someone asks where a specific author or book may be found. Often times I can direct someone to the exact spot (in my local store at least). I once directed my mom OVER THE PHONE to a book I had been meaning to buy but passed up until then. It’s a gift; it’s a curse. I’m a freak (and I love it).
Through this answering of questions and guiding through the stores I hope to “convert” readers to used bookstore frequenters. In the very least I’d like to get some non-readers interested in books. My biggest want if to get more children reading. I don’t normally have children with me in the stores though. The only children I know well enough to take into the store by myself is my cousins (who are getting older now, 13 & 10). My teenage cousin doesn’t care about much more than her iTouch and being glued to that all the time, but I handed her a huge stack of YA novels recently. I hope she reads at least one this summer while she’s visiting.
As for my 10-year-old cousin, he’s a big reader. He’s also a picky reader. I’ve tried my best tricks on him and it’s hard to please him. Right now he’s in the middle of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series and WON’T start anything else until he gets and reads the last three books. It’s a little troublesome to me, but at least he’s passionate about books when he gets into a series. I brought him into the store last week looking for the rest of the series but only found the first two books. Since he read them and there was no other ones he kind of shut himself out to any other suggestions. I even tried to coerce him into trying out The Hobbit. He wanted nothing to do with it. But at least, and this is what I’m glad he gets out of our visits, he asks to go to my local store to look for the books he likes instead of asking to go to the mall an hour away for B&N. (Sidenote: My mom ordered him book 5 online for him. He should be getting it in the mail in the next few days. He’s going to be very happy 🙂 )
Bringing the people I have into used stores has been rewarding, as I said. I hope to continue sharing the magic with more and more people as the years go on. For those who I can’t physically bring into a store, I have this blog series. That is one of the goals here; to get you and others to give a used store a chance. Hopefully after that happens you’ll find people of your own to convert. It’ll be like a religion…but without the weird robes and doctrines based on outdated text (no offense, or offense, however you’d like to take that 😛 ). But if you want to wear a weird robe, be my guest. Harry Potter did (I think).