I worked at a bookstore for 5 years, so I know the appeal of a shiny, new book. Whether hardcover or paperback, the crisp pages and that new book smell always get me. Back when Harry Potter books were being released at midnight parties, the first thing I would do once I got the book was open it up and inhale that new book smell. I am a book sniffer. I will freely admit it.
But there is something so magical about used bookstores. I love their general haphazardness, as the ones I've been to are typically overflowing with hundreds upon hundreds of books. Filling the shelves to the brim or even stacked on top of each other over in corners. And used books typically have a story themselves. Some written in by previous owners, underlined or given bookplates to show i whose possession the book used to reside. And I love shopping around for something I know I can't find in a modern bookstore.
I am lucky to live by some amazing used bookstores and although I don't frequent them as often as I would like, whenever I am there they leave a lasting impression.
Most recently I went back to Baldwin's Book Barn in West Chester, PA. And when they say barn, they are not kidding. It's literally a huge barn with at least 4 stories and sprawling bookshelves that cover every inch of space. It's dusty and rickety and wonderful and magical. I've been there twice now over the years where I went in looking for something specific that I knew was no longer available in print. And that is how I came to have two of my greatest book treasures: a collection of Tennyson's complete works copyrighted 1898 and a 1944 Inner Sanctum edition of the Maud translation of War and Peace.
So, here's a small tribute to the magic of used bookstores. May love them, may we always find them when we need them, and may we find the magic in them.