When I was growing up in Alpena, Michigan, my hometown had one bookstore. It was just a tiny Waldenbooks in the Alpena Mall, and it sadly closed about the time I got to high school. I can't tell you all the hours I spent there, sitting amongst The BabySitters Club, Nancy Drew, Animal Rescue Farm, The Secret of the Unicorn Queen, and other series that consumed me as an avid young reader. (And Avi. Oh man, I love Avi.)
Now when I return home, I'm happy to see Alpena has three bookstores - an Olivet Christian bookstore, a lovely indie bookshop called Blue Phoenix, and a used paperback paradise called The Book Exchange. It was my Mom who first introduced me to The Book Exchange years ago, as she's been trading books back and forth for a long time. But now, as an adult and an avid romance reader, it's become one of my must-do stops when I visit home.
Honestly, the store used to be pretty chaotic. Under new management, the store looks better than ever before - sections are clearer, stacks are better organized, and I hear they're moving to a bigger space soon.
While we visited, an overstock sale was happening. And, I cannot be trusted in an overstock book sale...
After losing my mind and filling a box of books, I left with an amazing assortment - spending about six dollars, I got some older Eloisa James, some fantastic history books, and of course a few vintage romances with amazing covers. Below are a few of my favorite finds.
Used bookstores are a special kind of magic. You can't usually go in and find what you want, but you may just find exactly what book you need. I have long adored The Book Exchange, and will continue to love it as long as it remains a crazy consortium for paperbacks in need of a good home. :)