I am a book hoarder and collector. Special editions, first editions, new covers, you name it, I want it. But I am also a realist on a budget, and this hobby gets expensive. While sometimes I splurge when I know the likelihood of scoring a rare gem is slim if I wait, most of the time, I try to get them at a much cheaper price. Thrift stores are a book collector’s dream, especially if you don’t mind the “hunt.”
I am not one to get rid of a book I purchase; I like to have it on my bookshelf like a little physical trophy. Unless I really don’t like the book, I keep it. However, there are many readers out there who prefer to purchase, read, and then donate the book to either a local library, thrift store, or book reseller. What’s the saying: One person’s trash is another’s treasure? Well, come to momma, I’ll take all the book booty!
I live just outside of St. Louis and am surrounded by thrift stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and so many more. Saturday mornings are a great time to head to the local shops and find new books to line my shelves. Sometimes, I purchase a book I already own in softback and replace it with a new hardback or first edition. If it’s the same cover, I’ll either donate the old book to the local library or put it in our family camper for reading material when the husband and kids want to go camping.
It’s the times I find those special first editions of my favorite series that I don’t already own or the special edition book covers that give me the most joy. These babies are usually a minimum of $20 full price, but I usually score them for the low price of $2 at the thrift store. Does it get any better than that? I think not so much!
Even if I didn’t find anything to take home that day, it was still a fun adventure, just hunting for orphaned books to adopt. It’s fun to go down the aisles, head tilted in that way only readers do as they browse the titles on the shelves, and go: I own that one, and that one, and that one… I mean, it’s not like we don’t do that when we walk into the local Barnes and Noble and see a display table and realize, yep, I already own all these!
If you’re a reader who donates your books to the local thrift store, I thank you. If you’re a collector like me but haven’t thought about finding your newest treasures in the piles of donated texts, maybe you should. You might find it far more fun to shop there than at the major bookseller near you.
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