As I shuffled the hallowed aisles of Chamblin Bookmine on Roosevelt Street near downtown Jacksonville, I marveled by the amount of used books that found their way to these shelves. From different owners in different states, all different types of books found themselves in one of the dozens on sections of the bookmine.
From the outside, Chamblin Bookmine looks like a run-down curio shop. On any given visit, however, you can find yourself nearly lost—thankfully there are tons of signs that direct you back to the front of the store.
Between its two locations, the bookstore boasts having over 55,000 square feet of used books, and 98 percent of the books at Chamblin’s two stores are used—with just a few books at each location actually being brand new books.
While I usually find myself taking trips to the Roosevelt location, the largest bookstore I've probably ever been in, Chamblin Uptown features a cafe and a perfect location for getting the right dose of "art" with MOCA (museum of contemporary art) one block away.
What’s even better—you can sell your old books.
Whether you’re running low on funds till payday or want to exchange books to prevent clutter, the bookmine allows you to sell books for cash or store credit. According to their website, the value of the books depends on the book and their current stock.
While I’m surely a sucker for a new book, the crisp pages and the smell of “newness,” there’s something magical about buying books that use to belong to someone else.
Why Should You Buy Used?
While it might seem obvious, investing in used books is a fantastic way to support local businesses and save money in the process. Most new books come out in hardcover and are at least twice as much as the same book will be when it finds its way onto a used bookstore shelf.
Of course, buying used would be cheaper, and you know what that means? More books. Also, you're probably not buying a book because it'll look nice sitting on your shelf (if you are, then maybe invest in something less heavy--a bookshelf full of novels is a heavy art piece).
While sometimes it's night to have something brand-spankin' new--iPhone 6s I'm looking at you--some things look better with some wear and tear. Most books you buy will go through this kind of cosmetic altering when you read them, so there's really no reason to buy a book that looks like it just came out of the press.
You might not be a fan of writing in books, folded pages that leave noticeable creases or cracks in the spine, but one of the best parts about reading is sharing your adventure with others. What's even more interesting, you can only hypothesize what other people felt about the book. Did they underline an interesting passage, or was it something you wouldn't have thought to pay attention to. Are there drawings or hidden, lost bookmarks within the story?
Bookstores like Chamblins are a fantastic way to save money and find some truly interesting books, much better than at a box store.