Tuesday, 15 April 2008

second-hand bookshops warning signs:

Second-hand shops. We have at least 10 here in Ottawa. I can't go in them. I spend money. I come out with armloads of books. Husband looks at me and weeps. I plan for another bookshelf. Wonder if he will notice if I pop in for the book I almost bought and now know I don't have....

This was from a comment I wrote on another blogging site, and as I wrote it I realized why I don't know how many used bookstores we have here in Ottawa: I can't go in them. Used books? $1 each! I can always find one to take home!!! It's hard enough not buying when I go into new bookstores (hence, I sometimes stay away for weeks at a time, and we have at least 10 of those also in Ottawa), but used bookstores? No, I know as I enter the door, that I'm coming out with at least one book, if not many more. I know there's a name for this...nope, not bookaholic....nope, not bookaddiction....booklove! Yes, that's it. I'm in love with books! And second-hand bookshops are irresistable for me. I know London England by Charing Cross Road and its many wonderful bookstores! Both new and used. It's the same with any city/town/village I've ever been to. Where are the bookstores? It's the first thing I look for. For my 50th birthday (still a few years away, hurray!), I semi-jokingly said I wanted to celebrate by flying to London and spending the weekend shopping for books on Charing Cross Road. I can't think of anything else I'd rather do, except maybe take a trip up to Whitby (our favourite seaside town in England) for one day that same weekend and spend the day there . And they had a used bookshop or two there, too, if I recall correctly! A fabulous one in the old part of town.....

Does anyone else feel that tingle of excitement when they spot a window full of books?

12 comments:

heather (errantdreams) said...

Does anyone else feel that tingle of excitement when they spot a window full of books?

And how! Heck, I get that tingle when I look at my pile of review books, and that's despite the fact that what I should be feeling is mortal fear of falling farther and farther behind!

Table Talk said...

I am so bad about this that when I as studying at our local University which has an onsite bookshop my tutor (who as also a good friend) would take my credit card off me before allowing me to go in. I could spend what was in my purse but no more. If she hadn't done that I would still be paying off my debts now.

Nymeth said...

Charing Cross Road was heaven. I miss the bookshops in England so much. Near my house in Nottingham there was a street with about 8 charity shops, all with reasonable book sections. There was also an awesome discount bookshop (with supposedly "damaged" books, but honestly in most cases I couldn't see the damage) and an Oxfam bookshop. Needless to say, my weekly grocery shopping was almost always followed by weekly book shopping.

Unfortunately over here used bookshops are almost unheard of, and the few that do exist are incredibly pricey. 10 euros for a used book? I don't think so.

DesLily said...

here in New Jersey a used book store could wind up more expensive than new books!... but give me a yard sale and I head right for the boxes of books!!!

Lady P said...

Believe it or not, I enjoy poking around second hand bookstores. I'm looking for some older books for Kristen and figured that is where I'll find them. I can handle any bookstore, any book situation, so long as I'm not with YOU. I totally sympathize with your hubby who sees one of these stores and weeps. I can't remember how many tears, threats, abuse I hurled at you to try to get you OUT of one of these places... man, the nightmares I still remember after all these years!

Susan said...

heather: I know what you mean! a pile of books = sparks in us. No matter if we've already bought them, it's that they are waiting to be read by us that matters!!

table talk: I think your tutor was very wise and very brave! and now I know you have the same weakness I do....isn't it wonderful? :-) and kind of awful too, since sometimes I'm tempted to dip into the budget and buy that extra book....are there any good used or new bookstores in Birmingham?

nymeth: what a letdown, to be in a country that doesn't have used bookstores! I like how you describe the weekly book shopping following getting your groceries :-) when you were in NOttingham. The Oxfam shops were really fun to go through, in York, and you're right, amazing books could be found there. You sound like you went from book heaven to purgatory for book readers!

deslily: I forgot all about yard sales! oh, some treasures can be found there...but they are reliant on good weather, and used bookstores are year-round. I guess I shouldn't mention the stock changes all the time too, at used book stores.... Does New Jersey have alot of bookstores, new or used?

lady p: I wondered when you were going to bring this up! I remember I had to trade off time looking at jewelry stores with you. Ugh. I had about 5 minutes and I was bored. I guess some things never change!! I can still spend hours quite happily just browsing in a bookstore! Glad to know we could go to a second-hand shop though together :-p and you're right, it's a good place to pick up older books and series. Anything Kristen is looking for in particular?

Table Talk said...

Well we have a couple of Waterstones and a Borders and a rather unfriendly Independent store, but the only really decent second hand shop is the Oxfam store. We could do with some good secondhand shops - or perhaps that should read 'I' could do with some good secondhand shops!

DesLily said...

Not a lot of bookstores around in NJ.. mostly Malls have the Barnes and Noble book stores.. small book stores are far and few between, and used books stores even rarer. The few used stores think they have ALL RARE and COLLECTABLE books and charge more than most books are worth... pretty sad actually.

Susan said...

table talk: Doesn't Birmingham have a University? I would think wherever there was a university, there would be bookshops, both new and used. Especially used, for the textbooks, and because students can't always afford new books. Certainly here in Canada, wherever we have universities, we have both kinds of bookstores. Ottawa has two universities, which might explain the numerous second-hand book stores as well as 3 Chapters (equivalent to Waterstones in UK, and Barnes & Noble in the US). Kingston, the nearest largest city to us in Ontario, has Queen's university, and even though is a small city, still supports an amazing used bookstore and a new one - Indigo, which is as large as Chapters.

deslily: some of our used bookstores try that 'collectible' stuff too. sometimes it is true, but the real, rare book is just that - rare. I'm surprised you don't have more, but maybe all the bookstores are in NYC! I've heard there are some very good ones there!

Emily Barton said...

I don't know. Sounds awfully like you're a book slut to me...
I absolutely cannot go to used bookstores or library book sales or anything of the sort without expecting to come home with loads of books.

Susan said...

emily: I think this is a case of 'with age comes wisdom', because when I was younger I could fool myself that I could go into a used bookstore and come out empty-handed, and I never did. Now I know better...and library sales? ohmigod you can get so many wonderful original books there!!! (that was twenty-something poor student me popping in for a retro memory visit) the only thing I hated were the library marks (cards in the back, or stamps all over the tops or bottoms of the pages), but sometimes, I just had to have the book...ok, you can be president of the Book Slut club, I guess I'm treasurer?

Table Talk said...

We have three Universities and a University College, but that isn't reflected in the number of bookshops. I'm afraid that if students do buy books these days (and given the number that come to class clearly not having read the set text, I sometimes wonder!) they buy them off the net. Sad for those of us who love browsing, but true.