Found a central spot to set up camp Tuesday and headed to Buffalo, NY. The first book store I ran across was Rust Belt Books. I had walked in and looked through an aisle before I remembered to go back and put a coin in the meter.
I asked about an old dictionary that wasn't priced, and the proprietress looked it up. It was about 1890s and I soon realized that I'd get a retail quote, without my researching it, so I didn't buy it. I picked up a Science Fiction Book Club edition of Friday and a guide to Sci Fi authors.
I had been excited about visiting the Old Editions Bookstore. Their website showed a two-story store with cafe and I pictured myself enjoying lunch, surrounded by great selections and the buzz of people. I parked in a parking deck and walked in, immediately impressed by the giant map behind the young man at the desk. Unfortunately, they had closed down the cafe except for a rotating case of ancient pizza and bottled drinks. The place was empty.
The decor was very nice, as if professionally done. And they had artwork on the walls - for sale at three-digit prices. I scanned the shelves downstairs and started noticing the prices. Upstairs wasn't any better. They had 1980s works by Alex Haley and Barbara Mertz set at $25, books that are going on e-bay for about $8 lately. I could go on with examples of high prices. I kept scanning, but it wasn't fun. As it seeped in that nothing was going to be a bargain, the joy of the hunt was gone. I saw one other customer walk in the whole time I was there, but two employees. High overhead to run this big place, I thought. There were no chairs.
I was surprised to find a few Quaker genealogy books, and shocked to see one priced at three-digits! Did they really expect a lot of Quakers from Virginia to come sauntering through a bookshop in Buffalo? They even had one of Olive Goodbody's works, a skinny collection of Dublin will abstracts that I would have loved to take home, but not at $75. I walked over to the lady at the upstairs desk and asked if prices were negotiable. She told me she could take off 10%. I thanked her for the information and kept browsing. She came up to me a couple more times with tidbits of information; I think she may have called the owner at one point. Last week, they had a sale, she said over her glasses, 25% off of everything, the first time they had ever done that. Of course you did, I thought, smiling politely, because you're dying.
I left empty-handed, without even getting a lunch. The shop was like a stereotypical library: very quiet and with a great selection of collectible books, that they really don't want to part with.