8 Great Non-Bookstore Places To Get Books

Susie Rodarme

Staff Writer

Susie Rodarme is obsessed with small press literary fiction and tea. Other notable skills: chainmaille weaving, using Photoshop semi-correctly, and drinking gin.

I love me some indie bookstores. I do. Shout-out to The Strand in NYC, Quimby’s in Chicago, and the Village Bookshop right here in Columbus, which I thought was a religious bookstore for about eight years because it’s in an old church. (Oops.) But I didn’t name a blog Insatiable Booksluts because I am choosy about where I buy books; when it comes to book shopping, I take all comers. (Is that… does the booksluts reference make that a dirty pun?)

Here are some non-book stores where I often find myself browsing the book selection. (I’m not counting places like Amazon or Walmart or Target because they basically are online bookshops.)

Rough Trade Record Shop

image by Snowmangraham via Wikipedia

1. Record Stores. Not all record shops have a book selection, but some do, and some have great book selections. My favorite record store with books (way more records than books, so it really isn’t a bookstore) so far has been Shake It Records in Cincinnati; their curation is fantastic and they also carry Out of Print tees. Record store owners and managers tend to be on the hip side (sometimes the hipster side but to each his own), so there’s always the exciting possibility of finding lesser-known gems.

Costco Interior

image by Coolcaesar via Wikipedia

2. Costco. Yeah, I left out Amazon and Walmart but I’m always surprised at how many books I find at Costco, so I wanted to mention them. (Plus, I just love Costco.) The prices are pretty good and you can find bestsellers, box sets, activity and craft books, and nonfiction. Plus, you know, whatever random titles they were able to get inexpensively, which can pay off sometimes.

Thrift Store Sign

3. Thrift Stores. Thrift stores are one of the. best. places. to buy books with two caveats: the books are obviously used and you have to be in the mood to hunt spine-by-spine to see what’s available. Thrift store books sections generally aren’t very organized and you’re bound to see microwave cookbooks from the ’70s thrown in alongside ten copies of an Oprah Book Club pick (so you can stock up on your Márquez), but you can find some great books. Not only that, you can find some cool editions of books that you might never have seen before. I found some really cool, giant, art-filled trade paperbacks of books from the Dark Tower series and I think I paid a buck or two for each of them. Score.

Finally checked out this huge antique mall the other day. Also, playing with #Snapseed again @ruthsworld

4. Antique Malls, Flea Markets, and Street Markets. I’m grouping these together because they’re all a multi-vendor situation. When my husband and I go to the shops with multiple vendor setups, there’s almost always at least one stall that has a selection of books. Sometimes the books are mixed vintage, sometimes they’re pretty well curated (there’s an antique store near us that has a great SF/F selection, and I also found some Star Trek toys there that I should have bought). I include street markets because we have a guy who sells used books at the street markets in my city. He plops down a table and a rack and lays out his wares in between some screen-printed bicycle tees and organic frozen ice pops. He’s my fave.

Old stuff - garage sale

5. Yard Sales. Yard sales are the best ANYWAY if you have cash and patience, but like thrift stores, you’re likely to find something that you want for less than a buck in decent condition. Look at that Jane Eyre!

Rockaway Township Library book sale

6. Library sales. I left this one for toward the end because it’s a pretty obvious place, but I couldn’t not include it in case someone out there doesn’t know that libraries often sell books that they’re removing from circulation. YAY LIBRARIES!

The Observers book of Astronomy on Etsy

Listing from ImpalaPrints on Etsy

7. Etsy. Oh yes, you can buy books on Etsy. Some of the books are vintage/used, some are new and small- or self-published (lots of zines and comics especially, and I think some chapbooks as well). You can find everything from antique Goethe to sets of The Baby-Sitters Club.

8. Also? On Book Riot. We’re not a bookstore, but we DO sell some books. We have a quarterly book box subscription you can sign up to receive, a few “Best Of 2015” boxes you can buy in our shop (including a horror-themed box! and a romance box!), and we have a daily book deal that you can get in your inbox (or check here on the site).

Those are my book-shopping secrets. What are yours?