Category Archives: Community Mapping

Where have all the used bookstores gone?

Where have all the used bookstores gone?


During this weekend of historical significance, at least in the US and in Great Britain,  there are some matters of history to ponder.

This morning the first question of the day was “where have all the used bookstores gone”? Honestly, do not know. I suppose the online retailer Amazon made it so that there is less and less need of bookstores. Sadly so. However, is there still not a need for a store that is dusty, run amok with cats that has row upon row of used books that have been earmarked repeatedly holding a whole other layered story onto itself?


I remember a decade ago thoroughly enjoying a used books tore, rather warehouse, in the suburbs of Washington, DC.   I remember browsing the dollar racks at The Strand in New York.  The Strand is still there but with its myriad gift items including numerous tote bags bearing its name it has become more about being hip and holding that bag than really combing through old dusty book rows.


I recently tried to find an old, old book as a gift and could not really find anyplace that could get it for me.  Forget about used bookstores. Where are the old books going? Surely, it is not the top shelves of local libraries as those are becoming more and more select in their selections while going digital as well. Where are the old books going? Are they being donated to the thrift stores?  Are they being sent to the landfill? Are our dumps being filled not only with garbage, but with words of our past?


We are so focused on the here and now that our past is going to the dumps in droves.