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Mourn for Bygone Used Book Stores Here!

2DaveWixon

Shocked and Appalled!
Joined
Mar 13, 2016
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Minnesota
Hmm Archival material put on Web later. Though the Internet existed in 1988, there was no web before 1992 and not much on it till 1994 - 1995
Isn't that wonderful?!!? It has to have been put on the web in a labor of love by somebody... We need a lot of that.
 

psikeyhackr

Physics is Phutile, Fiziks is Fundamental
Joined
Jul 17, 2013
Messages
1,266
It's the ChicagoTribune. I know a writer/editor who worked there in the 90s.

For Owner Alice Bentley, Sci-fi Bookstore Is Something Of A Fantasy
March 25, 1999|By Connie Lauerman, Tribune Staff Writer.

Alice Bentley grew up wanting to be a physicist.

She earned a degree in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and paid her dues as a lab technician and engineer in Rochester, N.Y. Then she landed a plum job as an engineer at Fermi Lab in Batavia, where she worked in the main control room of the nuclear accelerator complex.



She considered that the perfect job, but after five years, Bentley discovered that she really didn't want to spend the rest of her life doing it.

So she made a radical about-face and embarked on what some people might consider a foolhardy venture. She opened The Stars Our Destination, a North Side bookstore specializing in science fiction, fantasy and horror.
For Owner Alice Bentley, Sci-fi Bookstore Is Something Of A Fantasy

Alice Bentley

Now stuff is getting more recent:

Ketter and Bentley Revive DreamHaven Books

Talk about cyberstalking. LOL

DreamHaven Books, Comics and Art

psik
 
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dannymcg

"It places the lotion in the basket"
Joined
Sep 9, 2016
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Location
Cumbria UK
Three years ago I was on a work safety training course. All week at the town of Ulverston in South Cumbria so I stayed in a hotel there called Sefton House. The main attraction for this hotel is an "American style coffee bar, plus art gallery". Very full at nights.

However this hotel also has another business, and has for a few years now, second hand books. I wasn't aware when first checking in, but I noticed when going to my room that every inch of wall in the corridors, hallways etc are covered in shelves crammed full of used books. Prices on peel off labels.
Just outside my third floor room were loads of war stories. At the back of ground floor was sff section and by the end of the week I'd bought a couple of dozen.
There is a bed and breakfast in Blackpool (can't remember name) that does similar used book selling but it's mainly biographies. Gotta be a few more like that where they have a thriving secondary business in old books.
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
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6,139
"I noticed when going to my room that every inch of wall in the corridors, hallways etc are covered in shelves crammed full of used books"

I'm not sure I would be able to sleep... could wander those halls all night.
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
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EJ Heijnis

Inscribinator
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Aug 26, 2015
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California
I used to vacation near Glastonbury and Wells in England every year with my father. There were a handful of used bookstores we'd visit every time, and I always walked away with something new. I always wanted to stay longer! There's a special joy to be found in wandering aisle after aisle of massive bookshelves, with no idea of what you might find next. They're magical places. And the smell...!
 

Extollager

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Aug 21, 2010
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I thought we had a thread along these lines already, but can't find it.

Here, History of The Hobbit author John Rateliff remembers Renaissance Books in downtown Milwaukee. I visited it once, in 1987, and might be able to find some notes of the experience. It was loaded with atmosphere; and I found some good books there, too.

Sacnoth's Scriptorium: Bookstore Lost (Milwaukee's Renaissance)

So write in here with your elegies of bookstores gone and bookstores doomed.


Seems the airport version of Renaissance Books in Milwaukee is doing well!

WWII, Gertrude Stein & Poetry: The History Of The Bookstore At General Mitchell Airport
 

tegeus-Cromis

a better poet than swordsman
Joined
May 17, 2019
Messages
218
There are many, many more defunct record stores that I find myself mourning -- but, from my days in NYC I still miss Academy Books (18th St between 5th and 6th), the Book Ark (off Amsterdam in the low 80s) and Tompkins Square Books (6th St, I think, off Avenue A). Fortunately the Strand is still there.
 

soulsinging

the dude abides
Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
2,229
Off-topic, but of related interest, the Tolkien scholar John Rateliff mourns for the closure even of chain bookstores.

Sacnoth's Scriptorium: Have You Hugged Your Local Barnes & Noble Today?
That has been hard for me to reconcile. I became very anti-B&N in college since they owned most campus bookstores and the whole textbook industry is a huge racket. I was all about Borders. Then Borders failed. Waldenbooks and B Dalton were long gone. Suddenly, B&N was no longer The Man's bookstore, it was virtually the only bookstore left. I almost opted for a nook over a kindle, but I honestly wonder how long B&N can/will support it.

To an extent though, I feel they have essentially sown the seeds of their own destruction, much like music retailers. They conspired with publishers to price gouge (a $30 hardback is the only option for new releases for 2 years after publication and paperbacks are now taller to justify a $10 list price instead of $7-$8, just like a CD that cost $3 less to manufacture than a cassette somehow cost $5 more at Sam Goody) their most loyal customers. When someone figured out a way to cut those markups (itunes and Amazon), those loyal customers jumped at the chance to get 2 books from amazon for the price of 1 from B&N. They never understood that you want to nurture those customer relationships, not do everything you can to wring an extra cent out of them (looking at you, worthless memberships).

Of course, now we're approaching a point where Amazon is the only game in town and you can see their prices creeping back up. I've also noticed if a paperback is available in multiple formats, Amazon only carries the trade version, not the cheaper mass market. Greed always prevails.
 

soulsinging

the dude abides
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Oct 23, 2008
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2,229
A slightly more worrying thought follows on from your recent comment in the Book Hauls thread (Book Hauls!). What if the current increase in second hand book shops is due to younger people divesting themselves of inherited book collections...
I wonder if we're headed towards a future where paper books no longer get published and the only way to get them is to join what amounts to used co-ops that just keep recirculating old copies...
 

tegeus-Cromis

a better poet than swordsman
Joined
May 17, 2019
Messages
218
A slightly more worrying thought follows on from your recent comment in the Book Hauls thread (Book Hauls!). What if the current increase in second hand book shops is due to younger people divesting themselves of inherited book collections...
On a related note, one thing I noticed at Comic Con was that there is a surfeit of Amazing Fantasy 15 and other key Marvel and DC issues from the '60s for sale, and that they're cheaper than they've been in years. Discussing this with one of my friends, he hypothesized that this is because fans of a certain age, who are likely to have valued these issues, may be beginning to pass away, or just retire and sell their comics, and so their collections are being scattered.
 

Extollager

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On a related note, one thing I noticed at Comic Con was that there is a surfeit of Amazing Fantasy 15 and other key Marvel and DC issues from the '60s for sale, and that they're cheaper than they've been in years. Discussing this with one of my friends, he hypothesized that this is because fans of a certain age, who are likely to have valued these issues, may be beginning to pass away, or just retire and sell their comics, and so their collections are being scattered.
Very interesting, and not surprising.
 

Paul_C

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Nov 20, 2016
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498
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Northampton UK
Whilst I can completely understand mourning the passing of the bookshop (or record shop, guitar shop etc.) as a place which was exciting to enter, with the promise of possible discovery, I can't say that it bothers me much :eek:

Using the wonder of the World Wide Web I can discover hundreds of authors I would never have heard about, and buy (more often than not) books (both physical and virtual) that I would otherwise have found impossible to acquire.

I'll concede that it has made having a career as a writer more uncertain, but it has also given more writers an opportunity to share their work with the world (not always a good thing, but such is life ;) ) so there both good and bad things about it.

On the whole though, I reckon it's an improvement for the reader, but if you'd like to tell me I'm an idiot and detail why then I'm happy to listen :)
 

Extollager

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Paul C, you're right about this being a time of tremendous availability of books.

It was great fun, though, when I beginning to build my library, to be able to go to a wonderful store like the old Powell's in Portland, Oregon, to pick up cheap copies -- no postage fees, no sales tax! -- of various basic/classic works. And those books were often ones, genre or not genre, that were and still are worth reading. I'd take the bus into Portland and more or less fill a backpack with books.

But there does come a time when a reader might have a great many of the low-hanging bibliographical fruits (plus, no doubt, some books bought to give them a try, maybe because of attractive covers), and wants to acquire books even a good book store, if there is one around, might be unlikely to have in stock. Splendid to be able to get good books by mail!

Browsing book stores, going into book stores with a list of books to look for, was fun and educational. It was pleasant to be surrounded by so many books.
 

Vince W

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Browsing book stores, going into book stores with a list of books to look for, was fun and educational. It was pleasant to be surrounded by so many books.
It's still possibly my favourite free time activity. I used to do bookshop crawls on Saturdays growing up. I'd hit three or four and hopefully, head home with one or two. Ordering books online is convenient, but there's always a special thrill when you leave the shop with a load of great books.
 
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