Rags Of Time Book Store

I found a used-book store up the street from where I work, tempting me to buy books faster than I can read them. It’s called Rags Of Time. The owner was still unpacking boxes, stacking shelves as I browsed the rickety, pine shelves. It appeared he charged a minimum of $3.50 for paperbacks no matter what its retail price was, and 50% off those over $7.00. That seems to be the standard now-a-days.

Last weekend I learned that Amy’s Used Books is going out of business. They’re based in Amherst, Nova Scotia, and they have the most cluttered store I’ve ever been in. I won’t let my daughter go down their aisles for fear of a 5 foot pile of books tipping down on her. Amy’s Books charged collectors’ value, so he’d charge $7-8 for a $10 retail book. I didn’t buy from his store often, but he did have a wide, eclectic selection, although it was frustrating to navigate the aisles and stacks of books. The owner has discounted his prices by 50% since he’s going out of business.

At Rags Of Time today I bought:

  • What’s Not To Love?: the Adventures of a Mildly Perverted Young Writer, by Jonathan Ames. I liked the portions I read in the store, including this from the Prologue:

    If you are standing in a bookstore glancing at this, I’m sorry that the first thing you have to come across is an introduction — a writer’s equivalent of a throat-clearing, and not a very good selling point.

  • Five-minute Mysteries, by Ken Weber. I heard an interview with the author on CBC radio, where he explained how he came up with the idea for writing five-minute mysteries: he made them up to keep his students interested in class.
  • Mcsweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, edited by Michael Chabon. This is a collection of stories from authors like Harlan Ellison, Elmore Leonard, Nick Hornby, and more (or “and more!”, as the book’s cover states).

4 Replies to “Rags Of Time Book Store”

  1. I bought my complete 12 volume set of Arnold Toynbee’s A STUDY OF HISTORY from Amy’s Books. I think I paid $250 for the whole set, which is excellent. The average price for the 12 volume set (as opposed to the “complete 10 volume set”) runs around $500 to $900. At the time I didn’t realize I was going to write my goddam thesis on it (and therefore remove all pleasure in reading it), but I still very pleased to find that. It’s the one and only time I’ve seen the complete set. That was a cool bookstore.

  2. I’ll always – ALWAYS – regret not buying the complete OED (all 20 volumes) for a couple hundred bucks at a used-book store in Charlottetown, PEI.

  3. I know why Amy’s Books is going out of business. I’ll come by later and post a link to some video I took in the store a couple days ago just to show you how nuts the place is. Some of the reasons the guy is going out of business:

    1) Not only does the owner have the most cluttered store I’ve ever been in, almost all the hard cover books are not stacked with the spines facing out. So I can’t see what the titles are. And some of these stacks, which I can’t read anyway, are on shelves that are higher than I can reach, and there’s no way to get them, no stools to stand up on, no small ladders, nothing (because there’s no space for anything like that). And there are so many books stacked on the floor, that there’s no room to bend down and read the titles of the books on the lower shelves. Having a bookstore full of books that are, for the most part, inaccessible to your customers is a great way to go out of business. No mystery there.

    2. Amy’s Books charges collectors’ value — and most regular used bookstores do not, because the market for collectible books is small. They may have a collectors’ or first edition section, but to stay in business you have to have books in the store that will sell everyday. You gotta move those books. Rare, expensive, collectible books do not sell consistently — especially in a town that’s in the middle of nowhere. Charging collectors’ prices for every book in the store doesn’t make sense.

    I’m bored.

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