Argos Book Shop

2017-06-14 Argos Book Shop b

I thought it was about time to try out a used bookstore I hadn’t been to before. My internet search led me to a little shop in a mostly-residential neighborhood. My first obstacle was to find a place to park my car. There was a small lot a few doors down, but it was unclear whether it was private or public. As I had no desire to have my car towed away, I drove down some side streets, circled around, and found a spot not too far away.

2017-06-14 Argos used bookstore hardy boys


Once inside, the place seemed deserted, until I spotted a man slouched down behind the counter, his head hunched over a computer. He said nothing, so I just started quietly exploring. The area nearest the door was the neatest, with collections of comic books organized in boxes and individual slip covers. There were also a lot of classic youth series, like “The Hardy Boys”, “Nancy Drew” and “Cherry Ames”.

2017-06-14 Argos used bookstore music section

The farther in I went, the messier it got. There were bookshelves so high they could only be reached with a ladder, as well as books lying on the floor. As I looked up, I could see what had once been an elegant ceiling, but was now in disrepair. There was only one chair in the entire shop for customers to sit in, which seemed odd. I passed by fiction, mystery, presidents, history, music, and other non-fiction sections. The prices, which were hand-written inside the front cover of each book, were a tad high.

2017-06-14 Argos used bookstore messy

The science fiction/fantasy area was quite large. I was impressed (although it isn’t my typical reading preference). Then I found the 50 cent bookshelf! There were hundreds of old yellowed paperbacks from many decades ago that beckoned me. I picked out a half dozen of them and brought them to the counter. The man behind the computer rang them up with little enthusiasm, and I walked out the door and back to my car.

2017-06-14 Argoes books I bought

Based on my experience, I would give this used bookstore a “C”. With bookstores going out of business left and right, kudos to the owner for keeping it open. But if you want people to keep coming in, you need to have a welcoming smile, a cheerful hello, and a willingness to help your customers find at least one great book to take home.


Visiting A Used Book Store

2016-07-09 Herm at used bookstore a


Yesterday was the perfect day for a drive – cool, cloudy, and not much traffic since it was a Saturday. The husband and I hopped in the car and headed for a used book store about an hour from home. A friend from work had told me about the place. Turns out it’s the third largest used book store in our state. When we got to the tiny town it was in, we parked right in front of the store. (Well, actually the husband parked the car, as I cannot parallel park to save my life.) The store front looked quaint and small. But when we got inside, it was rather like Alice in Wonderland and the rabbit hole. The more we meandered about the place, the larger it grew.

Just inside the front door were books in glass cabinets that looked fragile, as if they might crumble if handled. There were signs warning that the books needed to be handled gently. But the rest of the store had books begging to be picked up and looked through. No matter where my eyes cast about, there were shelves loaded down with hardcovers and paperbacks. There were also piles of books stacked on the floor, waiting for shelf spots. Where, oh where to begin…

2016-07-09 used bookstore in Three Rivers

Art history books. Architecture and carpentry. Crafts. Fishing. Science and biology. Old fiction readers for school children from the early 1900’s. Tiny yellowed dime-store paperbacks from the mid-1900’s. Classic science fiction. Whodunit mysteries. Horror, romance, and inspirational fiction. And westerns – more western novels than I have ever imagined existed. But the bulk of the fiction area – spread over two rooms – was general fiction, sorted alphabetically by author’s last name. Fiction written a few years ago, fiction written decades ago. When I thought we’d seen every row of books, I spotted a wooden stairway and realized they had a lower level full of books too! Downstairs were books about just about any country you could think of, as well as Native American books and other non-fiction topics.

There’s just something about a used book store that is more satisfying than picking up my Kindle or stopping in a Barnes and Noble to see what’s new. It’s the smell of old ink and newsprint paper. It’s the old-fashioned book covers with their hand-drawn artwork. It’s the creak of old bare wooden floors under the feet. It’s the soft, worn feel of pages that have been turned many times. It’s the peaceful, languid pace of folks wandering about. It’s the quietness – no elevator music or loud conversation. Time seems to stand still while you are there.

If you’ve never been to a used book store, ask your friends or neighbors where to find one in your area, or google it on your computer. It make take an hour to drive to one, or you may be lucky enough to have one in your area. Don’t pass up the chance to be like Alice and wander into the rabbit hole!