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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Used Bookstore Lives

Today I found a used bookstore over by George Washington High School that is unusual in the sense that it was well-stocked, organized, and the prices were reasonable. Well, mostly reasonable, but I'll get to that in a moment.

The place is called Two Buck Books and you can find it between the Chipotle and the King Soopers off Monaco and Leetsdale. Paperbacks are two bucks, hardcovers $4. I browsed for my favorite fiction authors but didn't find any volumes missing from my collection, so I went to the history section, looking for anything on Ancient Rome, Mesoamerica, Colorado history. Rome and Mesoamerica are longtime subjects of interest, but these days I'm keen on learning all I can about the labor wars.

Alas, I was only able to find some self-published chapbooks, the kind of books you see in gift shops of museums. I snatched all three, in addition to snagging a book called The Art of Mesoamerica (score!), Ancient American Cities (score!), and a heretofore unknown volume by Charles C. Mann called Ancient Americans. (He's the guy who wrote 1491, a book about the Americas before Columbus, and it's sister volume, 1493, a book about the Americas after Columbus. I highly recommend both volumes.)

When I was checking out, with my little stack of books, I asked the guy if he had more Colorado stuff. He answered that he had a couple of volumes in the back that were listed on the internet. Would I like to see those?

Of course!

So he brings me out three books. One is about a park in Cherry Creek, another about an unfamiliar Denver neighborhood, and the last one was called Military Outposts of Colorado. Ah yes. That's the kind of stuff I was looking for. I flipped through the pages and saw chapters on Fort Garland, Fort Sedgewick, and Fort Logan. Score!

So how much?

The guy looks at his computer screen. "$17.50."

Ouch. I turn the book over in my hands, flip through the pages. I really want it, but for $17.50? I'm the type of guy who can take $17.50 and turn it into a stack of books, all of them eminently as readable as this one. I had just demonstrated that by snagging the Colorado chapbooks and the Pre-Columbian stuff.

The clerk read my reluctance. He really did want to help me. Before I could say no, he dropped the price. "How about nine dollars?"

Still steep, but a nice discount. I looked at the book. Looked at the bookshop. Looked at the nice guy behind the counter. Some places, nine bucks will get you a cup of coffee and a newspaper. It's not a great deal of money. So what the hell, I bought it.

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