Why do people, especially in these times, like to buy used books over new ones? Is it price? People do tend to pinch pennies when in the middle of a recession. But the economy was hit far less hard in Nashville than many other cities, and if you believe many economists, the recession is over. Why the love affair with used books?
A culture writer from the Tribune might have said it best. “Used books have a mystery swirling around them: the mystery over who has read them before, and why. For me, a used book is a sort of launching pad for romantic speculations about the book’s past. Marginal notes are like clues in a detective story: Who went here first? What were they thinking about? What was going on in their lives? And the book itself — where has it been? One can imagine strange ports of call and mad adventures.”
So if you love used books, here’s a great list of Nashville’s best used book stores! Most of Nashville’s used bookstores allow you to turn your own books in for cash or store credit, so if you want to pinch pennies and not spend a dime for your secondhand stories, in most cases you can!
McKay’s Used Books – 636 Old Hickory Blvd. Nashville
A used book megastore in Nashville that’s just a short drive away from the 440 loop, you can find tens of thousands of used books here, and most of them (even beautiful, like-new hardbacks) sell for under $10. They often carry school summer reading lists, but also carry DVDs, video games, comics, electronics, and even boardgames. You can turn your own used items in for cash or store credit, and by all accounts, it’s a bargain… if less intimate than your usual used book experience.
Bookman Bookwoman – 1713 21st Ave. S., Nashville
Owned and run by a beloved Nashville couple who have always been avid book collectors, this store is in the heart of Hillsoro Village just a block away from Vanderbilt and easily accessed by the interstate. There are several amazing coffee shops and restaurants within 30 feet of this beautiful little store, and it’s well worth a brunch trip! They have many early editions and signed copies worthy of collectors, as well as a shockingly deep selection. They also carry new books, which you can often get at a steep 20% discount.
Elder’s Bookstore – 101 White Bridge Road, Nashville
There’s a massive selection of out-of-print and used books here, and if you’re a Vandy fan, you might be pleased to know that this store was opened in 1930 by a Vanderbilt graduate. It’s still in the family, now owned and operated by his son, and is the oldest bookstore in Tennessee. There are many antique and rare books, but their children’s selection is absolutely beautiful. The store also offers rare book appraisal.