Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Praise of the Used Bookstore

Used bookstores are one of my greatest pleasures, both at home and on vacation. I have spent more hours (and dollars) than I can remember at the Half Price Books I used to live near, with my buddy La Chica poring over the stacks, finding prizes and laughing over the general weirdness that has been published.

I use this topic for this post because used bookstores figured prominently during my recent trip to Washington State. Any trip up north along I5 means a stop in Portland Oregon to Powell's City of Books. This place is without question the most amazing bookstore I have ever been in. It's HUGE, taking up multiple buildings. My first move in any bookstore, new or used, is to make a beeline for the crafts section-- specifically the knitting book shelves. A place like Powells gives me a chance to get a real look at book content rather than searching the web for pictures and reviews that other people post. This trip was decent, but not as profitable as in the past. There were many things that were new, not so much used and not so much that was old-new, meaning books that have been out for a while. The cookbooks were good, though, but I got caught in a scam that I had never encountered before. I saw a cook book called 'The Spice Routes' by Carolyn and Chris Caldicott, and when I flipped through it, it had some really interesting recipes. It was also on sale, so I added it to my stack to buy. After Hubby and I head out north towards Seattle, I flipped through my new treasures while he drove. Closer perusal of my new cookbook made me realize that some rotten nimrod had done a switch and put a DIFFERENT cookbook in the Spice Routes dust jacket. Pooh! Still the cookbook I did have was pretty neat-- 'The Gourmet Prescription' by Deborah Friedson Chud. I called Powells and, bless them, their nice manager credited me the difference for the book I had, found my wanted book, and mailed it to me for free shipping and 20% off. Now, that's service! Yay Powells! I will, however, be checking the front page of books more carefully in the future. Anyone need a Spice Routes dust jacket? I have one to spare...

This trip didn't afford time to take a trip to Port Townsend, Washington and William James Bookseller, which is one of my very favorite used bookstores ever ever ever. Much disappointment until a trip to Bellingham and Henderson Books. Oh MAN, what a place! William James just got bumped to second best. Henderson Books has the single best selection of used knitting books I have ever seen, and I was a very very bad rabbit. People knit in Washington. They knit in California, too, but every tiny town in Washington seems to have some sort of fiber underground like nothing I have ever seen before and the net result is that used bookstores are often plump with goodies others have off-loaded.

So for all you yarnies out there, check out Henderson Books and add a side of Powells if you have the time. The fiber result of my recent vacation was a deep gouge into my Amazon wishlist due to finding some lovely knitting books. Got some great cookbooks, too, but that is for another post.

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