Sunday, November 7, 2010

Death of a Used Bookstore

On a recent visit to my Mother’s I found myself part of a sad event. Mother lives in Little Rock where I used to live (I moved 20 years ago). When I lived there I often visited Paperback Excreta, a used bookstore where you could trade your used books for others or buy used books for half price. The selection was always very good and any time I was in town I would visit and buy books I wanted to try.

I was visiting in mid-October and went to check out the used book selection. On the door was the following sign:

We Are No Longer Accepting Books for Trade
After 30 Years of Business Paperback Excreta Will Close on October 30.
All Books are $1.00.

It was like seeing the death of an old friend.

I talked to the owner about her reasons for closing. She blamed most of it on the economy. There had been a marked decrease in the number of people buying for cash. She also said that she had getting fewer books coming in and as a result her stock was not as good.

With this closing the only used bookstore remaining in the city would be the one run by the Friends of the Library. Used bookstores have a very useful place for those of us who read. That is where I look for books that have gone out of print. I use it to fill holes in series. It is also where I will pick up books to try by authors I am not familiar with. A new use today is to pick up paper copies of ebooks that I purchased, read and liked. I am going to miss having a trusted place to pick up used books.

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