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Revive a Dead Thread > Local Bookshops

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 02, 2008 08:47AM) (new)

Where I live there are not many second hand bookshops (the best one is probably the Oxfam shop) for me to browse in but there are a couple of bookstores which have taken root in interesting places. Our local Waterstones occupies the former Bradford Wool Exchange and is celebrated in verse by local poet and GR author Joolz Denby.
Another interesting local bookstore is at Salt's Mill in Saltaire. This building which now has an electronics factory, a David Hockney gallery and various shops and a restaurant was, when built, said to have been the largest industrial building in the world. The village of Saltaire is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi Fiona, I think I remember Albert Road from my time in Hampshire. It's a nice 'arty' area near Southsea if I remember correctly.

Petra X is emotionally in a 14.5 year old state (petra-x) There are no secondhand bookshops on the island. Nope. But there are plenty of places to get FREE books. Every marina, every sailors' or tourist bar has a little bookshelf of tattered bestsellers that anyone can swap for one of their own. I kinda kills me and my tiny little business but in my sailing days I used to swap books too so I can't complain (much).

message 4: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments If you don't want to walk back home with too much weight...don't stroll through the streets around leicester square in London. I used to do that and would always pick up at least one book, with the excuse that I couldn't leave behind a book I was interested in for one pound only! They can also look really cozzy.
Here in italy I haven't noticed any yet.

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments In the town I live in, there are for bookstores:

Barnes and Noble
Books a Million
The Open Book
As the Page Turns
The Carolina Book Rack
and some Christian bookstores, whose names I can't recall

Barnes and Noble and Books a Million are national chains. The Open Book is a local bookstore, and to be frank, does not have as good a collection as it used to. The last two times I went in there I bought NOTHING, which I didn't think was possible. The Carolina Book Rack and As the Page Turns are used book stores. And there are the grocery stores, Walmart, etc, of course. There used to be another, very good, used bookstore, Bentley's, in town, on Main Street, but it closed about a year ago.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Book shops closing seems to be a real problem and I guess is likely to get worse after this credity crunchie thing. In the UK our main supermarket chain, Tesco, is seen as more important to publishers than bookstores both large chains and small independents.

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Too true Jeane, I love the wee little shops in that part of London. Also good to visit are the stalls by the South Bank area. All the books are laid out on tables and you can just dive in and find a gem or two.

Petra X is emotionally in a 14.5 year old state (petra-x) On another group, one of the moderators thought that it was a Good Thing if small, independent bookshops closed if they couldn't compete with the big chains. Although the big chains work on a profit per square foot buying policy and independent bookshops try to buy books that they think the local population would be interested in, he felt that all those first-time authors, non-mainstream books and other things you won't find in Tesco's, Booksamillion or Walmarts he would be able to find on the net. (How I don't know, if you don't know something is there and it has no publicity it might be very hard to find). I obviously don't agree with this at all but I am interested to know what other people think.

Petra X is emotionally in a 14.5 year old state (petra-x) To me wanting to give up individuality for price is mall philosophy. Everyone wants things cheap, but when you go to a mall you know you aren't going to find a little shop selling locally made cheeses and breads and a jewellery who will make a ring for you to your own design. If people only support malls sooner or later that is all they will get.

message 10: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (missfryer) | 453 comments welll.........we have one locally owned bookstore and the owners are snotty.

we have another used store that has a LOT of Danielle Steel.

message 11: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (missfryer) | 453 comments Remember the movie YOU'VE GOT MAIL?
This thread reminds me of that...remember FOX BOOKS tried to ruin the cute little store?

Petra X is emotionally in a 14.5 year old state (petra-x) Carrie - when I lived in London there was an independent bookshop down the road right next door to WH Smith's (chain, stationary, magazines and popular books). The people were so snotty and determinedly left-wing that I was intimidated by them and bought reading matter at Smith's. They didn't have such an interesting selection but the other people made me feel small. Now I have my own bookshop I go out of my way to make people feel welcome and that whatever they like reading that's really great (and I think that too). I can't think why anyone in business would want to intimidate customers or maybe its the staff and not the owners?

message 13: by Emily (new)

Emily There is an incredible used bookstore here in DC in capital hill. You can barely move inside the store because there are books everywhere. It's an old house so they have books in the bathroom, on the stairs, the kitchen sink...literally everywhere. If you're in DC and like books you should check it out.

message 14: by Emily (new)

Emily Oh I found a picture on Flickr of the bookstore.

message 15: by Gavin (new)

Gavin (gavin9) We have lots of local new and used bookstores in Seattle but the big chains threaten their livelihood. We've lost several in the last year due to rent increases. Most used book sellers help make ends meet by selling on the internet.

Abigail (42stitches) | 360 comments Fiona, what you need is a rolling suitcase. (I'm such an enabler XD) You wouldn't have to carry anything. But you would have to force yourself to limit your buys to the volume of the suitcase. (Anyone else thinking of Read Or Die?)

I miss my old used books stores. Frogtown books was the best. Well priced and good quality. Novel Idea dealt mostly in romance and mystery but hard backs were 4 dollars all the time and If you had store credit you got 50% off your purchases until your amount of credit was used up. And we used to have Thackarey's which was a fantastic new-book store. But when they put a Border's in the mall they closed because they stocked their books through Border's distribution center and they were only a couple miles away.

Now I've got Half-Price Books which is a really nice store with a great variety of stuff, just a little pricey sometimes.

message 17: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (missfryer) | 453 comments PETRA: You own your own bookstore? What a fabulous life you must lead! That is only my DREAM JOB.
I would assume that, yes, one that owns a store where he or she makes their livelihood would be KIND to the people that support them, but no....they are too good for smiling or anything like that.

message 18: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (missfryer) | 453 comments Jessica Simpson loves Danielle??
WHo knew!

Petra X is emotionally in a 14.5 year old state (petra-x) Carrie - books don't make much money except at Christmas. Its not really a retail business, its more like consignment. I live on a tiny island in the Caribbean, only about 14K people, so there isn't exactly a big market either. I used to have a boutique (and before that an arty sort of shop) in the same premises and made much more money until I got bored and stopped buying as well as I had done. (I tend to change my occupation every five years or so).

message 20: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (missfryer) | 453 comments That sounds like me, Petra...I used to be in sales, then in journalism, then in I'm teaching. I get bored as well.

I would love to come visit your shop! One day when I hit the lottery, I'll come visit

Petra X is emotionally in a 14.5 year old state (petra-x) When you hit the lottery you can buy the business from me!

message 22: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (missfryer) | 453 comments no, we can be business partners!

Petra X is emotionally in a 14.5 year old state (petra-x) I've had my bookshop over five years so last year I started a cafe which I had to close for the season but it may reopen in a week or two. I wish I could get that going or find a partner for it.

JG (Introverted Reader) Our local independent bookstore is downtown. I've only been in it a couple of times, but it had a nice, funky feel. But I'm such a country girl--I can't parallel park to save my life. The hassle of trying to find parking for that bookstore just isn't worth it. So I go to our B&N and sometimes Books-A-Million. Our B&N is moving into the mall, by the way. I've seen several malls with B&N inside.

To me the prices aren't all that different. All I ever see on sale at B&N are the brand new books and there's no way I'm paying for a hardback, even on sale. I wish I had a more convenient independent bookstore, but I don't, so I keep feeding the big chains.

message 25: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 32 comments I would love, love, love to run my own bookstore, and the only things stopping me right now are fear, school, and the US economy (make that fear, school, and fear again).

I know, be brave. But since I have no money to begin with, I don't know how to make that work.

I currently work for one of the big chains and it's not *so* bad. It's the chain that still kind of *tries* to keep some semblance of independence and booklovingness in the store philosophy, some branches maybe better than others. But if I had my own store, oh.... ***drifts off into dreamland***

We have some used bookshops in Glendale that are more than decent (Brand Bookshop and Mystery & Imagination) and Vroman's in Pasadena is totally awesome. I would spend days in their kids' section if I could. (In fact I hear that this Christmas that's one of the things you can buy as a gift, although rather a pricey one! A sleepover at Vroman's Bookstore :) What a cool concept! Although I hear you can't stay til dawn, just a few hours after closing :(

message 26: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments John, that's a reason why it took me so long to walk in the South Bank area!!!! I even took pictures of it because it looks so great under the bridge!!! Buying a book ther afer an hour of looking through them and then continue your walk with the book in your hands....nice

Petra X is emotionally in a 14.5 year old state (petra-x) The best second-hand bookshop I ever went to was a place in Jerusalem called the Book Stop. The books were graded by condition. New(ish), Very Good, Old. New books cost about 75% of retail. If you kept it that was ok, if you returned it you got 50% cash or 75% book credit. I lived in that place.

message 28: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments That's a great idea Petra. sounds lovely.

message 29: by Sarenna (new)

Sarenna (djsthree) | 63 comments We have several used bookstores here. There was one a few blocks from where I used to work and I would walk there about once a week (it got very expensive). There is one by my new office, but it's not the same. It's missing the atmosphere of the one I used to visit.

There's also a HUGE one about 20 minutes from where I live. My only complaint about it is that it is so disorganized. The employees seem to know where everything is, but I'm one who likes walking the aisles and just browsing. The total disorganization of the place makes me feel claustrophobic. There are literally stacks of books on the floor, in the aisles, books doubled on bookshelves. I love that they have so many used books, but I'd love it more if there was some kind of organization.

Abigail (42stitches) | 360 comments Now that I am remembering, we used to pile in the car and drive up to Ann Arbor just to go shopping. First stop was Wizziwig's but then I always dragged everyone into Dawn Treader. Huge used book store with really great deals. All the books were soo cheap and usually in great condition. There were always some guys on the street with boxes of books for sale for a dollar when the sun went down too. I love that town. If it wasn't Michigan, I would so live there.

message 31: by Jen (new)

Jen (nekokitty) | 110 comments Petra X,

What island do you live on, if I may ask? I have relatives who live in Curacao... :)


Petra X is emotionally in a 14.5 year old state (petra-x) I'm not near Curacao. I'd like to visit the ABC islands myself one day.

message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Names. Some of these shop names are great. I bet there could be a separate thread to discover the great names of book stores around the globe.

JG (Introverted Reader) Good idea, John. I just went and started a thread like that, but I gave you credit for the idea.

message 35: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Boisture | 121 comments I went shopping at the Goodwill last week, when I discovered right in the same shopping center, the Friends of the Library Used Book Store!!! WHAT??? This has been less than a mile from my house all this time and I'm just now finding out about it???? I could have been enjoying fifty cent paperbacks for myself and building my son's library with fifty cent children's books all this time and I didn't because I didn't know that this wonderful store was RIGHT IN THE SAME NEIGHBORHOOD IN WHICH I'VE LIVED FOR SEVEN YEARS!!! Just goes to show you, you really have to comb your neighborhood!

I'm smacking myself for seven years wasted!

message 36: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) I think I live in the non-reading centre of the universe. The local bookshops are not impressive. There's a Waterstones, but it doesn't even have an art shelf, let alone an art section.

Bath isn't all that far, and there are some nice shops there. I like Banks' where there's a £2 room, but I haven't been for a while. I hope it's still there. I am going to have to go and check now.

message 37: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Oh Niki, I would go mad discovering that!!! But would immediately make up for it too!

message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

There is a used bookstore around the corner but the prices aren't that great they charge 1/2 of cover price on all books regardless of condition. The B&N a few blocks further is going out so I have been spending a ton of money there since everything is 60% off cover price.

In Wisconsin years ago, when I was on vAcation w/my parents (okay it was several decades). My dad & I got lost in a four story used book store. We got there at opening and were the last people to leave. They had a great selection of Rod McKuen poetry books. I really need to find that book store just for a vacation! I believe it was in Milkwaukee

message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

Wow an all day book fest. Did you have sandwiches?

Petra X is emotionally in a 14.5 year old state (petra-x) With only 40% discount off the cover price as the standard bookseller discount, it is very difficult to make a living as a new book seller. I have no idea how secondhand bookshops manage to pay the rent and staff.

People are always asking me to start a used book section. I understand that people want things as cheaply as possible and then cheaper than that but I have to make a living. If I started a secondhand section I can't see how I'd ever sell another new book unless someone wanted something special.

message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

John: no we didn't eat. I have a habit of forgetting to eat when I am looking at books!

message 42: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 32 comments Petra, I don't think people think about the seller when they think about buying books (or anything else), which is why so many companies in the US are going out of business! The retail/service industry has become *too* consumer oriented. People constantly come into our store demanding that we give them discounts for coupons they didn't bother to bring in, and somehow it's *our* fault that they couldn't print it, left it in the car, or accidentally deleted it from their email! If that worked everywhere, I could walk into the nearest restaurant and say I got a coupon for a free rib-eye steak but I forgot to bring it and for the sake of customer service they should give me a free steak, or I'll call their corporate headquarters and complain about how I was treated. /rant (sorry! I get carried away.)

Did it ever occur to people that owners open businesses in order to make money, so they can have a living?

And back to the topic, I forgot to mention Skylight Books in the Vermont/Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. I wish I could get over there more often. They are a *real* bookstore!

message 43: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 12, 2008 11:00AM) (new)

Alethea, your comments about customer attitudes and threats sound familiar this side of the pond as well.
I thought you might appreciate this site. Not Always Right
If they are all true examples then it's a scary world out there.

message 44: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 1000 comments Alethea, you are so right about customer demands. I always get the, "Can you look up my coupon in your computer system?" No, I can't. If you don't physically bring the coupon, I can't do anything for you.

I also like this one, "Uhh...this coupon expired November 2 but I didn't find it until now. Can I still use it?", it's not like Borders doesn't give out coupons every other day anyway.

message 45: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10095 comments Mod
Emilee.... Rod McKuen poetry sold in the bookstore???? Where the heck is that? I have slowly been purchasing his works, I think I have 7 of them now, and I got them all from library sales or Salvo. I have been in the right place at the right time apparently!

Petra X is emotionally in a 14.5 year old state (petra-x) I have two customers whom I hate more than anything. One is a lawyer who pulls all the price stickers off and then wants things at the American price (with the freight to the Caribbean I have to add on $2 but there's no tax). The other is a man who is extremely anti-semitic, racist and thinks a woman was created to serve men. He's an extremely good customer so we have to put up with his shit. If those two come in on the same day I go home and leave them to my clerk.

message 47: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments And we always have to keep giving a smile! :-)))

I once talked to a colleague of me at WHSmith that we should put everything behind windows. When the customer wants something they can ask us, but have to buy it then. This came after every day putting back magazines that were on the ground, people spending hours in the shop reading, but really reading the magazines and not buying one single thing and all the food and drinks we had to get from between the magazines. I never thought people would leave a back from McDonalds between the magazines. Once I was attracted by a lovely smell from vetween them and found Millies cookies, vanilla taste chocolate ones....
Sometimes I was feeling like I cleaned up a garbage shop!

message 48: by Marsha (new)

Marsha For those of you who work in bookstores or libraries, I have the ultimate respect for your restraint.

I would be fired the first week for not working.

message 49: by Jensownzoo (new)

Jensownzoo | 338 comments St. Louis, MO has quite a few small used bookstores, but my favorite is The Book House which is in a very old house (with teeny-tiny rooms, but lots of them). The floorboards are wooden and creak when you walk, you have to watch your head on the eaves and other architecture, and you have to watch your step so you don't step on a sleeping cat.

I also fly up to Portland, OR once a year for a conference and I've always packed a spare suitcase and stayed an extra day to go to Powell's City of Books, which is a used/new bookstore that is about four stories tall and covers an entire city block. Luckily, they have a small cafe inside for those spending all day...

message 50: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Marsha, when I applied for a job at WHSmith three years ago I thought that would be my problem. Luckily I could keep it to my breaks, lunch and weekends(when I wasn't working). And I took every chance to 'help' a customer find a book (I knew better where they were than the people of that department)or recommend other books while walking through them and not doing my work(wellt he work I was asked to do). I was actually working for the news department:magazines and newspapers, but it was on the same floor as the book department.... greeeeat.

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