Monday, March 14, 2011

Book finds in Maryland

Two weeks ago I drove up to Maryland for the weekend to see friends, and this time, to do a little bookhunting.

Friday night, I went with my friend Suzy to listen to live music and indulge in tasty Southern Maryland crab balls.

Saturday morning, I drove down 235 to an antique store in Lexington Park, The Grapevine. I fell in love with this little antique corner chair and bought it for the bookshop. I picked up a few books, too.

After lunch with another friend, I went a used book store in the old part of Leonardtown. As I wandered through aisles and around corners in Fenwick's, I kept thinking there was only one more room, but then there would be a doorway and another room. I like bookstores like that.

Fenwick St. Used Books

They have a whole bookshelf of Star Trek.   :-)

I introduced myself to the owner, Joe, as a new bookseller and he was very kind. He runs the "Old book store" e-mail list for brick-and-mortar booksellers. He answered my questions and mentioned websites and names that have recently become familiar, from the bibliophile list or in my bookselling research.

As we were talking, I noticed the high, ebony, mirrored bar behind the counter. Joe told me that his place had been a bar for many years! He had covered the tile floor with carpet and had shelves built. The small room in the back, the fantasy and sci-fi room, had once been the ladies' room.

After that pleasant visit, I stopped by Staples and picked up a shelf that had been out of stock back home. Then I went to a "new books" store in California, Md. that's going out of business. Bay Books has been an independent shop here for 23 years. 'Hard to believe, since I remember when they first opened!

I wasn't sure I wanted to buy new books, because now I can get a discount from distributors and also because I'm not sure if they're still new books after you buy them from a store. But when I saw that Bay Books was already offering 50% off, I decided to risk buying some.

I had just about decided that I wasn't going to introduce myself, when I saw a sign indicating that the shelves were for sale. I just had to ask about them, and the clerk quickly introduced me to the owner. The shelves were reasonable — not super cheap, but a good value — but I told the owner I just didn't have a way to transport them to N.C. He took my name and number and wished me luck.

The owner of Bay Books had previously offered the store — shelves, inventory, everything — for sale at a very reasonable price, but with no takers they proceeded to liquidation, just like the Borders back home.

I spent the rest of the weekend with friends, food, my former church, more friends and more food. By Monday's departure, the car was filled with books and furniture for the new bookshop.

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