Opinion: Used Book Stores Survive and Thank God for That.

Matthew C. Woodruff

Used Book StorePhoto bySean FeriganonUnsplash

Used bookstores make me sneeze. Apparently, I am allergic to the dust old books accumulate. This minor affliction never keeps me from going into one.

As an author myself with three books under my belt, I am always thrilled when I happen across my books in any used bookstore. To me, more than anything else, seeing my books in a used bookstore makes me feel accomplished. Its not that someone ‘got rid of’ one of my books by donating or selling it, its that they thought it good enough to pass it on to another.

I am proud to be on the same shelves as with the great authors of all the ages, even if it is in some dusty, cramped, mostly forgotten space.

Used bookstores almost didn’t survive the pandemic, Amazon and the internet. Many may not know this, but Amazon was founded in a garage as an online seller of used books. Perhaps due to its origins, Amazon remains a big player in book sales, including used books.

Amazon takes losses on its books to increase its profit margins on other items likely to be ordered at the same time. They don’t have to pay rent and they can deliver anything a customer could want straight to their door in two days for free. It is unsettlingly convenient.

Used bookstores are dynamic and full of mystique. An astute browser can find books in a good used bookstore not available anywhere else, and certainly not online. As their inventory is constantly changing, you are sure to find something that titillates your interest, perhaps something you’ve never heard of, perhaps a book from a favorite author of yours that you hadn’t stumbled upon yet.

The next time you are in search of a particular book or just for something new to read, step into the surprising worlds of a used bookstore, and even if you sneeze at first, you will leave with a new horizon.

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Matthew is an independent journalist, an internationally award-winning author best known for Dark Humor/Lite Horror/Supernatural short stories, as well as an ordained minister who served as a domestic missionary. He is a lover of the unusual, travel, cats and the spark that makes people tick. Matthew is based in Florida, USA.

Gainesville, FL

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