Friday, May 4, 2018

Half Price Books West

Bookstore: Half Price Books West

Location: Near West Side of Madison, Wisconsin

Why I Love Them: Half Price Books, despite being a chain, has this aura about it that makes each store feel unique. Even though they use the same building blocks from store to store for shelving and layout they all have a distinct personality. In fact for the stores farther afield in the Chicagoland area I actually gave them all nicknames, and yes, they are named after my favorite finds there or the quality of books... there's one I just call "swanky" because of this gorgeous reading area usually filled with Folio Society Editions. But the two locations in Madison are my hometown favorites, and, if I had to choose my favorite of the two, the location on the West side would win. It's not just that it's closer! Best bookstores are never chosen by convenience they have to earn that right! So why is the West location better? They have a faster turnover rate, getting new books in almost daily, their collectible books at the front of the store have drool worthy editions that I covet, and the random British editions are a delight whenever I find them. Also with the addition of new releases being available starting a few years ago there is almost no reason to go to other bookstores. Though I will note that which most people do not know, authors don't get royalties on used sales, so please, buy new when you can because we need to support our authors. For me what I look for at used bookstores are specific editions that are out of print or authors who are hard to find stateside, and for that, nothing can beat my Half Price Books. 

Best Buy: As for my best buy? A little history if you will indulge me... when I was younger I read and fell in love with Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. It instantly became one of my most favorite books ever. I even used it on that recent seven days seven books meme that was going around Facebook. Obviously I wanted to read more of her work but stateside all I could find was copy of Jamaica Inn with an amazingly tacky purple cover at B. Dalton Booksellers, Westgate Mall FYI. Though in fairness it was A LOT better than the tacky red cover of Rebecca with it's "R" in a really bad font. A few years went past and I found a copy of My Cousin Rachel and I could find no more. Therefore I assumed that she only wrote three books. People in the United States NEED TO KNOW that Daphne Du Maurier DID NOT write only three books! She wrote twenty-eight fiction and nine nonfiction books and new editions of her short stories are coming out all the time because previously unknown stories keep getting discovered! So that makes A TON of books that I didn't know about when I walked into Half Price Books one day. This was before their recent reorganization so fiction wasn't in the back of the store but right in the front on your right as you entered. And there, properly shelved under the "D's" were all these books by Daphne Du Maurier. I couldn't believe she had written so many! I grabbed the lot and when I got home and showed my mom she too couldn't believe that she had written so many and that I had found them. Over the years at other Half Price locations I have found the few missing Virago editions that I've needed. I still have eleven to go, but I'm sure they'll one day join the twenty I already have!   


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