Aged Pages: Give Back, Support Your Favorite Store

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It’s yet again, another Wednesday. That means it’s again time for another installment of Aged Pages.

Most of the time when I go into a used bookstore I’m going to fulfill MY needs for books. What I don’t often consciously keep in mind is that it’s a business. A bookstore isn’t just a place for me to find great books and bring them back to a new loving home. It’s also a place that needs money to run and keep providing the great service to the community that it does.

There’s a simple way to help out and there’s a not so simple, or at least not so easy way. The obvious way to help out the business is to buy from them and buy from them often. This is the case for any store. I’ve had the luxury of doing business with used bookstores for years. Over that time, I’ve been given the perks of getting discounts often. But despite this, I can still make up for that small loss of sales. All I need to do is come back to the store often. Sometimes, back in college when I had nothing better to do, I’d go in multiple times a week and just grab books. Who doesn’t love that.

Not everyone can get to a bookstore often. There are more people who just don’t have the money to spend sometimes. Currently, I am one of these people. I tend to spend the little money I have in my wallet when I go to a bookstore and not have it for more “necessary” things. (It’s the curse of being a book addict.)

When you don’t have money to spend, you can always help out by spreading the word about a particular bookstore to friends, family, and random people you walk by on the street. That last one could be a little creepy, but it could also be very hilarious. It could also lead to either a new friend, or in the very least a new customer.

Now that the obvious and more simple suggestions are out of the way….it’s time to get serious. Why are we about to get serious? That’s easy…I’m about to commit a crime book addicts everywhere may hunt me down for. This suggestion won’t be for everyone to partake in. Only the strong will accomplish it.

A way to support a used bookstore and keep it afloat in the difficult times all bookstores are in right now is…to…bring in….b…o…o…ks. There I said it. Bring in your books. Many used bookstores buy back books that are in acceptable condition. You maybe get around half the price that they’d sell it back for, but it’s still some money in your pocket. At my bookstore I know you get a larger percentage back if you accept store credit instead of cash. So in the end using this method helps everyone. And if you want to be very generous, you can always donate the books and accept no money for them.

Woah….I’m still alive and allowed to keep typing up this post. Good. I was scared for a moment. Let me keep going on the topic of giving book back. There are some readers who either don’t mind reading a book and selling/giving it back to the store and there are also some readers who simply can’t fit more books in their home but LOVE to read. I personally find it extremely hard to part with a book, let alone many books. I’ve only sold books back on a few occasions. This was when I accidentally had a double of a book or my mom didn’t want some romance novels anymore (since I wouldn’t read them anyway).

In a way buying and giving  back is similar to having a library system. Only this one isn’t exactly “free” like a library. On the bright side, you’re directly funding this pseudo-library and not  tax dollars.

Well, that was my rant about supporting a used bookstore. But remember libraries are also great places to get books (not that I follow this advice since I hate giving books back 😛 ). Yes, that’s very PSA of me so I’ll just stop now.

Happy reading and all that. Go smell some musty pages!

83 responses to “Aged Pages: Give Back, Support Your Favorite Store

  1. Such a great post! I love books too and really wish I had more time to read. I also love Small Businesses. Local shops, local people doing what they love. It’s hard to find in these days of mass market, big box corporations taking over. At least in my city where suburban sprawl has left our precious downtown an empty shell of 100 – 200 year old buildings vacant. There are little speckles of areas within the city limits that do include a couple of used book stores. They seem to be the tiny common thread……

  2. I´m the same, I find it hard to part with books, hence why I hardly use libraries! But donating books is a great idea, I will force myself to do it more often 🙂 (By the way, I love the ‘tell a random person in the street idea’ too)

    • I donate books all the time, being that I purchase them all the time, whether they are used, or new. Having a book addiction is a good thing, at least in comparison to what other things you can be addicted to as well.

  3. Our public library runs a permanent donation book sale. Everybody can donate books. Older editions of library books go in the sale as well when replaced by new editions. You choose to donate as much as you can, some libraries run a “buy a pound of book” weight payment system. All donations go in new books thus: more to read! – I’m loving it!

  4. I have an incredible used bookstore here. It’s enormous. I do take in books periodically, but it’s like giving up a kidney. I have to because I’ve got too many books to house comfortably, but it’s hard!

    One real perk of used bookstores is that you can find collectible books for very little money. I found one last week that was $3.50, but it sells for up to $240.

  5. I was so sad when my favourite used book store here in Toronto closed down, it was like a home away from home.

    Still searching for a new favourite and when I find it, I’m going to try your suggestion of donating books … such a great idea, thanks!

  6. What? You take books back to the used book store? After hunting through the racks to find your treasure? omg why? Reading it a second or third time down the road, It is like meeting with an old friend, and you often stumble across something you missed, forgot or interpret differently.

    But are the used bookstores on the way out? You can put the contents on your ereader and carry it with you all the time. Another passing to technology?

  7. The great Erasmus (author of In Praise of Folly) said, “When I get a little money I buy books; if any is left I buy food and clothes.”

    Bravo to you for your support of used bookstores! Amazon and addall can never replace the pleasure of standing in the presence of a teetering bookcase and getting your fingertips dirty. I don’t have as much time to spend in used bookstores as I used to have, and they’re harder to find than they used to be, but that love never fades.

  8. “One real perk of used bookstores is that you can find collectible books for very little money. I found one last week that was $3.50, but it sells for up to $240.”

    You really have to know the value of the book itself. I used to go to charity used book sales. But I guess I’ve lost patience in browsing through loads of unorganized stores (vs. being in a bookstore where it is at least organized for convenience). I have accumulated several hundred books which I’m slowly donating to my local library to raise money for them.

  9. Used bookstores are wonderful. First off, pricing is often better. Second, they have a certain appeal about them, from the smells to the aesthetics to the nostalgia factor. I could spend hours just roaming around them.

  10. Used bookstores are terrific, especially for new books that you’re not sure about yet. I do trade books back in, which is great for getting rid of books that aren’t so great. Thanks for sharing used bookstores with everyone else!

  11. Great post. I have a favorite little bookstore that I don’t get to very often anymore because I was in school full-time and then working all day on the weekends. I usually spend less than $20 and walk out with 4-5 books. I asked about bringing books in last time I was there as there are several books I’ve bought and begun reading, only to put them down because I couldn’t fathom reading the whole thing, plus there are plenty books I know I’ll never read, and I’m getting ready to move. So, I’ve got a box set aside that I will be donating next time I’m there.

    • That’s great to hear. It’s true, sometimes you just know you won’t finish, or even read a book, even though you may have thought so when buying. A great reason to give it back so it may have a life with another reader down the road 🙂

  12. On top of everything else, donating books opens up your shelves for…more books! Besides, if you find that you’be given away a true favorit, you can always go spend a happy day looking for it in a used book store.
    Nice Pose.

  13. I have a favorite used bookstore and recently found old copies of Kahlil Gibran’s books. I am in heaven. 🙂 It’s so important for support indie & used bookstores. Often times, you can find new copies of recent titles because people have read them and passed them on. A good practice.

  14. I love used bookstores and libraries. I used to hang onto every book I ever bought, but several moves taught me that the physical burden is simply too much. I got rid of everything that I could reasonably expect to find in a library and kept the research books and the oddballs whose authors or titles I could barely remember, but whose contents I loved.

    I like your ideas about supporting used bookstores. Maybe I’ll try the nabbing-strangers-on-the-street concept!

  15. Yes, I too have the book-buying disease, and so far I’ve only been able to part either with duplicate books or books I really don’t like. But I do take them back to a library nearby who sells books on the cheap to help support library resources, so I guess in a way I’m doing a small part towards keeping old and print books alive.

  16. My local library has the same issue. What keeps it afloat? The community. How? We donate books. The Friends of the Library then hold a book sale every season (4 a year). The first day, the books will range from fifty cents to $2. The next day, they slash the prices in half. The third day, they’ll charge $5 for a bag of books (BYOB). The fourth day, $2 a bag. The last day, $1 a bag. All of that money is used to help keep the library running. Even the local schools will donate old books to the library for their seasonal book sale.

    The book sales are also a great way to meet the members of the community.

    It’s not just the Mom & Pops that are suffering…even the local libraries are feeling the weight of the recession.

    The seasonal book sale is also frequented by the local teachers. They buy up a lot of class material for their students since their budgets were slashed too. Actually, a lot of the teachers at these book sales have told me they’ve been taking money out of their very own pocket for these kids in order to decorate their classrooms and provide teaching materials for their classes.

    In the end…it’s all about investing in your local communities…including all of the Mom & Pop businesses in your neighborhood. In order for a village to survive, you have to invest in it, because it is your home.

    • I couldn’t have said that any better myself. I’m glad to see people caring about their community so much. 😀

      Thank sounds like a great sale as well. I’ll need to look more closely at my local library. I don’t go their at all really, but I’m sure they have sales just like any other. I should go some time 🙂

  17. When we lived in Texas, our local library had a book sale fundraiser every fall that they accepted donations for. (The money raised went to programs at the library aimed at getting kids to read more.) So every time I went to the library, I dropped off books that I knew I would never read again because I didn’t like them that much the first time. I got rid of almost two full boxes that way. I don’t like to get rid of books, but sometimes, you do have to edit your collection.

  18. I find it extremely difficult to part with any of my books, even the ones that my parents read to me once when I was two and I haven’t opened the box they’re in in years. That being said, I also never buy books at a used book store, mainly because I’m a germophobe (come on, you so do take books with you to the crapper) and there isn’t one around (the nearest one is in like downtown Toronto). I hope to one day find one of those stores that you just love to visit, the people are nice and the books are great. I imagine it’s sort of like cloth shopping at Winners, with all the oddities and everything out of place, but you never know what you’ll find for a great price. Great post, congrats on being freshly pressed!

  19. Old bookstores are like sacred ground for me. I always feel like I’m submerged in something magical. One of the best experienes of my life was going to the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore in Paris. I almost cried standing among the piles of books and knowing that Hemingway, Shaw, Joyce, and Pound were just some of the authors who’d been inside that building. Yep, magical for sure.

  20. As both an author and a reader I have mixed emotions about the situation. I used to love my old neighborhood used book stores, that are unfortunately now gone. I never used my local libraries as much as I could have, but honestly I never really liked having a time line on something I’m reading. The honest facts are mom and pop and even the big box book stores are on the way out. The written word on paper is a dinosaur soon to be extinct. Honestly if you understand that most authors make less than 5% of the cost of a book after the publishing houses take their share, this might not be so bad. Many authors have to invest thousands before their work will even be submitted to print. With the advent of self-published or indie/small Co. published e-books, authors now can make as much as 70% on their work. As a author I have to say it’s good to see the “appreciation” getting to the person who deserves that. Removing the middleman in this case also sadly will be the demise of the paper printed book. If you want more inside information and some short stories that are sure to put a smile on your face, please check out my e-book “A Fly On the Wall, A Bartender’s Perspective” at our website

    • Thank you for sharing this with my readers. Yes, small stores and even big ones are going out of business and may eventually disappear. We’ve seen that with Borders. That’s part of this series of posts; to support the small businesses. Most of the books available in them can’t be found as an ebook, to be honest. And if you bought them from Amazon you’d be paying much more money for them, even if the seller is a small business.

      As for your information about how much goes into making the books, writing the books, etc, those are common fact that can’t be disputed. And that’s what makes indie and self published authorship amazing. I’ve a BIG supporter of their work and what they go through to bring it to their readers. I actually did a week long event last month to raise awareness for Indie authors

  21. Great post. I was just at a one of the last remaining bookstores in my area yesterday buying books for a charity thing we’re doing at my sons birthday party. Found out while I was there that they too are indeed going out of business. Rather depressing indeed.

  22. I frequent both used book stores and library book sales. I find much better bargains at the library book sales, but usually there is a lot more variety and organization at used book stores. Plus, the books are usually in better condition overall.

    The one thing about used book stores, is that they are usually knowledgeable about the value of old books. However, I did pick up a book worth $150 for only $5 last month at Half-Price books :-).

    Mostly though, I am just looking for books that I want to read and to have on my shelves. I didn’t gain a lot of money on my book purchase above, I saved money for future purchases.

    • Was that “$150 book” in good shape? That could be why they didn’t sell it for a higher price. I’ve bought books that probably have some value in them for almost nothing because they aren’t in sell-able shape. It could be something as simple as a slight cracked binding even. Sometimes pricing is particular about details like that.

      • Yes, it was in great shape with a dust jacket. It was the last book in a children’s book series. Most of the 30+ books in the series are worth about $5, with the exception of three of them near the end of the series. I got two of the three 🙂

  23. “It’s the curse of being a book addict.” Lol! 😀 I can sometimes relate to that, esp when termites munched some of my 50 books last year! But, I always look at the brighter side. There are paradises waiting to be read. I’m just so blessed and excited! =D

  24. I recently lost decades worth of classics to a backup in a sewer line during a recent storm. I suggest to all your loyal followers to store any unused books in water-tight containers and not in cardboard boxes or makeshift shelves in a basement. Nothing worse than seeing a classic you treasured for years glued together by rot and mold. Having closed my own small business several months ago, I’m an advocate for supporting your local merchant(s). In today’s internet society, it’s an uphill battle, but one worth fighting.

  25. Too many of these treasures are dying, like almost everything from the past. SOmething about a kindle just ain;t right. I still miss the old record shops too and proibably always will.

    • I was on the fence about the Kindle until I got my first ereader (I now have a real Kindle). I’ll NEVER give my print books away though. Through embracing both forms of books I’m able to read a very wide range of authors from antiquity through print and the new up-and-coming indie/self-published authors who can only afford to make their books available through epublishing.

      I have similar feelings to yours toward records as well. I was born too late to have them as my main music source (it was cassettes then cds to mp3 for me) but I’ve discovered vinyl and love it so much more. There are a few records shops around by me and I think they are slowly making a comeback due to more bands producing vinyl 🙂

      • I worked in a record shop for almost 5 years in the 1970’s, so they are special to me.

        My daughter likes the kindle too. I do read some things electronically, but enjoy it more with the book in hand.

  26. wow, man! at long last….another person who reads…whoaaa…and not only reads, but likes visiting bookshops and actually buying the stuff! i thought every body was becoming an automaton these days, staring at a plastic Spindle or Kindle or whatever they call it! i mean, what the….how on earth can you read and absorb anything from a damn plastic thing! for me, reading means a book..not a plastic one….a proper book…and when i handle and open one…its heaven! the crack of the spine, the aroma of the pages, the actual written word in real ink and on real paper….somehow, books and humans seem to be interlinked…cant say that about a Spindle……;) great blog, dude!

  27. Years ago, after graduating from college, I donated my collection of art history books (some textbooks, some coffee table types) to a local little used bookstore. The owner looked at me like I sniffed too much glue or something because I didnt try to ask for money in return. I basically wanted a fresh new start with my bookshelf at home. I dont regret it. But I am still collecting way too many books. Thnks for sharing.

  28. As technology involves, many of tend to veer away from traditional forms of reading, to more technical options, like the Kindle and Google search. Libraries will never become nonexistent, because many people still use them. Regardless, we should use the library as a resource more often. Excellent blog, I really enjoyed your insight. Keep up the good work. Please visit [link removed by moderator for being irrelevant] for information and disease prevention and healthy food and drink recipes.

  29. My first “real” job was at a used book store. My mom had been shopping there since before I was born. Such an awesome place. Sadly, the stripmall it was in suffered a fire (damaged wiring, I think) and it had to move… and the new location was way far away in the next town, where it didn’t get enough customers to make it. I miss it every time I drive by! 😦

  30. I also love used book stores but I also know that they will always be with us. Book Stores as we’ve known them are already gone. The written word is alive and well. Re the electronic book.
    The used book store has a comfortable, cozy, relaxed atmosphere. There is no rush, these books will be there tomorrow. Probably won’t sell out anytime soon. Nice place to get away from hustle of the modern world, and they even have a nice musty smell.

  31. I enjoy used bookstores. I recently donated a bunch of books, but I ended up giving them to the library instead of the used bookstore (but the library holds sales as well and sometimes has “free” racks for the community). I have a hard time letting go of books too, which is why I usually don’t go to the library, but I am willing to part with books I know I’m not going to read again or have doubles of (I had 3 copies of Les Miserables and I kept two and gave one away) 😛

  32. Robert, this is a great post and an insightful blog. Thank you for saying it out loud. Where is your store located? I used to go to a used bookstore in Menlo Park, CA. It was an amazing experience. I bought all my russian library this way and some of the Hemingway’s workds. I remember that the owner of the store would just sit at the register and eat an avocado with a spoon. And i was there going through the books for hours. Gream memories. Once i am back to States I will start buying books from him again. Tell me where your store is located. keep your posts up. I enjoyed reading them. Masha

    • The store I go to is in Cobleskill, NY. It’s upstate and kind of in the middle of nowhere. There’s also a great one in Oneonta, NY that I like to go to when I’m out that way. There aren’t any others in my area that I’m aware of, so I do my best to keep these ones going.

      I did go to a store (2 different locations which was cool) back in college. That was far up north in NY near the Canadian border. That one was really cool and rustic. I’ll have to do a post on that one in the future, as well as the other ones I just mentioned.

  33. I always love book stores, even if I never visit them. There’s a used book store and an independently owned book store on my walk home from work, I make a true effort to stop in frequently. Even if I don’t see anything I am looking for I just love book stores! It’s the librarian in me 😉

  34. I’m also among the people who currently can’t afford to buy many more books at the moment. Especially at non-used book stores, books are just way too over priced. Buying used can still be a rip off, but it’s much better than buying new books and it can be more of an adventure.

    • I guess I’m lucky with the prices I’ve found at used stores. The one I most frequent has mass market pb for $1, trad PB $2-3, and hardcovers can be between $3-5 for more modern ones, and around $10 for older ones.

  35. I like to support our area independent bookstores, but I certainly don’t have as much disposable income as I did when I was younger. I was happy to see that the great bookstore near us now will buy books, and they always offer discounts. The regular readings and occasional classes that go on in the bookstore are central to our small town culture.

  36. I adore my library. It was always a treasure hunt to go to a used bookstore, or an estate sale. Funny story: I had an encyclopedia set in 2 volumes from the 1800’s. They were each about 5″ thick. The last “war” entry was the US Civil War.
    I came home one day and my roommate was using one to prop up the window for the a/c unit, it was wet and all taped up w/duct tape and card board! I remember scolding, “This book has seen 24 presidents, 2 World Wars, the fall of communism…and then it met you!”

  37. Very nice post. I am like you. I dont go to he library and instead buy books cos I like having them all with me. I live in a hot and humid country so when I buy old books it means putting them out in the sun to get the rusty smell out as well as getting rid of dust.Some days I get sneezing attacks reading old books cos each time I turn a page the dust gets in my nose. But I love old books.

  38. Pingback: I HIT TEN THOUSAND VIEWS!!! GIVEAWAY!!!!!! | A Life Among The Pages

  39. I always give my books to second-hand bookstores. Independent book stores are facing a huge challenge in the current climate, with chain book stores, Amazon and Kindles taking a huge part of the market. I worked in an amazing independent bookshop which had to close after two years, because it just wasn’t surviving as a business.

  40. Actually, I don’t think there’s a reason to support bookstores unless you’re rich and want to donate. The amount of books you can get for free or dirt cheap off Amazon is immense.
    Check out my record reviews: [link removed by moderator for being irrelevant]

    • This article is in support of used bookstores (and also libraries). They are a great resource for these “free or dirt cheap” books that are cheaper than most you can find on Amazon. This is especially true because there aren’t any shipping fees. It’s also in support of LOCAL business. Without that friends and neighbors can lose their jobs and possibly their life-long business.

      Thank you for sharing this side of the argument though. I do appreciate feedback of all sorts.

      …though please refrain from ending your comment the way you did. This isn’t a forum to promote your record reviews.

  41. I love used bookstores and want to support them but I get irritated that the ones in my area will charge like $5.50 for a book that is $6.99 brand new. I must just be really cheap because I think if it is used it should be more like 50% off cover price. Then I would buy tons of books from them. I just want to know I’m getting a deal. If I feel like I’m getting a good deal I buy more – like 3 books instead of 1. Otherwise if I’m only saving a buck I’ll just get a fresh crisp clean copy from the store.

    • I know what you mean. I haven’t personally walked into a used store and seen prices like that. The only time I’ve seen prices on a used book near over even higher than a new copy would be if it were the first edition, signed, or otherwise slightly rarer than the freshest printing.

      In your case, I would go out and buy the brand new one as well (unless the used one was in almost perfect condition). Basically do what’s good for your budget and the better interest of your book collection. The addition of the new book can eventually become a donation at a more buyer friendly used store as well, in the future 🙂

  42. Pingback: 02: Starts with Lithography. Ends with Reading. | Almofate's Likes

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