Last week, at book club, one of the ladies mentioned that a local secondhand bookstore was going out of business. Yes, that's very sad, boo hoo hoo, but what are they doing with all their books?
I stopped by on a Saturday morning. The sign on the window said that all books were a buck apiece. I started looking through them, one at a time. By around the the third shelf, I found one that I really really wanted, and I knew that I would be here awhile. So I left the shop to walk across the parking lot to McDonalds and bought a cup of coffee. Then I grabbed a shoulder bag from my car. It was the equivalent of rolling up my sleeves for book-shopping.
I skimmed the titles, one shelf at a time. I probably missed some that I would've liked, but I was willing to take that risk. Occasionally, I found something that went instantly into my bag. Other times, something about the title or the font or whatever made me pick up a book and look at it. Some of these went back on the shelf, others into my bag.
The shop was pretty busy, which was probably a sad irony for the owners. One lady asked where she might find the "women's reading" section. The shop owner was understandably confused. A family with a couple of little boys was building quite a pile, with a particular focus on educational materials. I think they were homeschoolers. One of the boys discovered an old chemistry textbook and was determined to buy it. Ah, a book hoarder in the making.
I was honestly a little irritated by the people who came in with a list of specific books that they wanted. These are people who are used to shopping at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. They asked the shop workers about half a dozen different books, none of which were in stock. And then they left without buying anything. I wanted to turn around and tell them, "You're doing it wrong."
When books cost so little, the best thing you can do is just look through them all and see what catches your fancy. Read spontaneously! Shop serendipitously! Judge a book by its cover and discover a new favorite. If you don't like it, heck, it was only a dollar. When everything is cheap, shopping is not about finding the exact thing that you want, but being open to what is there.
Whatever. More for me.