That Used Bookstore

To do my holiday shopping I decided to swing through the small town of Tecumseh, Michigan and roam around the downtown for a day in search of some small, personalized gifts.  It one of those quintessential small American towns with an assortment of little shops that seem to crop up in every small town but with minor variations that make it “their own.”

Amid a handful of little restaurants (I ate at The Cowboy Grill – the people were nice, the service good and the food hot) there were the obligatory antique shops and a couple of pubs. Instead of a toy shop there was a “hobby shop” which sold nearly every model of car, boat and plane you could want and a number you would also have to be able to afford. Instead of a candy shop, there were two wine stores. One just sold some wine and cheeses and the like while the other was an actual small winery.

What surprised me was That Used Bookstore. Used bookstores aren’t exactly profitable ventures. To put it kindly, they usually struggle to make ends meet. One used bookstore owner I know has talked of losing money the first six years she was in business. And this was in her seventh year. Simply put, it’s hard to make money when your costumers are people who are too poor (or, in my case, cheap AND poor) to buy the stuff new. Knowing this, I was a bit surprised to find this shop in the small town of Tecumseh.

I was in even more surprised to see how well stocked it was. I walked away with books by Arthur Nersesian, Robert Olmstead, Thomas McGuane and a couple of others. They had the usual assortment of Grishams, Clancy’s, Rice’s and King’s, just as any used bookstore does. But they also had a wide variety.

One of the negatives of the store is the lack of a clear price structure. What I have seen most often is a simple sign hung somewhere giving a price for all paperbacks, usually somewhere between $2-4. Instead, the prices are written in pencil on the first page in the upper right corner, though I did come across a couple of books with no price information.  I don’t buy to collect, I buy to read, and I never feel like spending $4 for a sci-fi paperback from 1965.  The prices weren’t bad, though. If anything, I would rate them as fair, usually very close to about half the cover price on the paperbacks. 

Apparently, That Used Bookstore is also associated with another bookstore called The Bookery, though the website is a bit vague on this relationship. It says merely that the “brick and mortar” store now houses both stores, but I never noticed moving from one store to the other when I was there.  Regardless, if you find yourself in Tecumseh, Michigan, give That Used Bookstore a look. The owner is nice and there is a fair chance you will find an unexpected treasure on their shelves.

That Used Bookstore


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