“I’m a book collector. I love old books!
About 10 years ago, I started visiting some friends once a week in the evenings and would drive by this used book store. It was never open. I would sometimes stop and peer into the window to see what I could see, but it was too dark.
I decided to go on my lunch hour one day to finally get in and see what I could get my hands on. As I drove in I noticed… it was closed. Arg!! I tried on occasion during the day to stop by, but it was never open. I would look in to see if there was ever anybody in there, but no… not a soul. I could see lots of books though! Mostly children’s books in the front room and old children’s books can be very valuable! I started wondering… what on earth was the owner doing?
I found the number for the book store online and put in a bunch of calls to see if I could talk to somebody, but no one would ever pick up. Nothing. It was a deadline. It would ring and ring and never pick up. It would just go dead.
I have read a book called ‘The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley. It was like I was living in this book. So mysterious!
I kept trying on different days, and different times as I would run errands, but this place was never open and no one would ever answer the phone! For more than five years, almost every week, I would drive by at night… longing to go into this book store. Even at night I would sometimes park and peer into the store. Nothing… ever!!!
Then one night, on my way home… The light inside was on! I parked and walked up, and the door was open! Not just unlocked… open!!
I poked my head in and said, ‘Hello?’
I walk in and start wandering around looking at all these thousands of books, for almost half an hour, picking up book after book… wonderful history books, philosophy books, some good fiction. The book store went back further and further. Off the main hallway, there was room after room full of books. Six rooms were full of boxes and piles of books! I was quite literally in MY ‘Heaven on Earth’!
By this time, I was all the way in the back. I am so ready to haul away as much as I can when all of a sudden I hear footsteps. From the front of the shop, I hear some voices. I start thinking, Oh no, I’m stuck in the back room with no other way out. If he walks back here, I’m in big trouble!
I decided to reveal my presence before he can see me. I call out from the back room… ‘Hello?’ A response came back from a man who I would learn is the owner, ‘Who’s there?’
I introduced myself and we started talking, and I’m relieved to find out he is actually a really nice guy. He says he was hauling all his books out tonight, and was going to sell them all at a big, local book fair that happens annually, but I could have my pick of the litter… $2–$5 a book for all the books I can take.
There was too much to look through in one night. I only had $25 on me and my wife was expecting me, so I grabbed a few books that caught my eye that I know I absolutely want.
A couple of good history books, a biography of Joe Montana (my 3rd favorite NFL player ever), some children’s books for my daughter, a hardbound copy of The Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin, both by J.R.R. Tolkien and, wait for it…
Two hardbound sets of…: THE LORD OF THE RINGS!
One is a 1965, 2nd edition Houghton Mifflin (with dust jacket), the other, a 16th printing Houghton Mifflin with no date…
Both in excellent condition!
I think to myself that this guy will not let these books go for five dollars. He would be out of his mind if he doesn’t say anything, but he doesn’t. To my shock, amazement, and joy, I actually price him down to $25 for both sets and the other books! I part with all my cash, grab the books and run!
I get home and go online to do some recon and estimate that I just bought over $600 worth of books for $25!
The Tolkien books alone averaged about $400-$500. I also found out that one of the history books I bought is an original edition of a Civil War history and map book… worth about $100, (I gave that one to my father in law who loves history), and another $50 book on the Napoleonic wars.
Not a bad day.”