Friday, July 08, 2005

A PILGRIMMAGE TO BOOK MECCA

Chamblin's Book Mine recently added an annex to help house their over a million books. Before the first time I visited Chamblin's several years ago, I wondered why it was called a "book mine." As soon as I set foot inside, I understood why. Long narrow corridors run between shelves packed with books.



You can literally get lost in the maze of shelves. And you can literally find almost anything there. For example, before Edward Whittemore was available in the Old Earth reprints, I used to go to Chamblin's to pick up copies of Whittemore's paperbacks, used, for redistribution to friends and possible reviewers. Every time I went, for many years, they would have at least two or three of them, sometimes more. Because they buy almost everything anybody brings in, and they buy multiple copies of the same book. I really think this bookstore is better than the Strand at this point, much as I liked the Strand. For used, as opposed to remaindered, books, Chamblin's is the place. Granted, I've never been to Powell's, but on the East Coast at least I can't think of another place like it.

So today Ann's taking me up to Jacksonville so that tomorrow I can strap on an IV and spend a good eight to ten hours in Chamblin's, looking through their entire stock. Of special interest--their history, travel book, trade paperback fiction, and mystery/suspense sections, all of which are comprehensive, deep, and wide.

As is traditional now, when I return I will list the books I've picked up there, along with brief descriptions.

Jeff

(Evil Monkey: "What's this I hear about Kameron Hurley guest blogging in August." Jeff: "It's true. Looks like she'll be guest blogging on this blog for a week or two. I'm psyched." Evil Monkey: "Awesome! Brutal Women kicks ass.")

5 Comments:

At 11:20 AM, Blogger David Moles said...

Must have missed you, somewhere in the tunnels. (Of course I was only there for about half an hour before I had to go to the airport.)

Powell's is certainly bigger and better organized. Whether it's better overall maybe depends on what you're looking for. I don't think it can quite match Chamblin's SF anthology collection, for instance. (Not to mention the insanely comprehensive media tie-in collection, or the really insanely comprehensive category romance sections.) But they took the books I wanted to get rid of, which is all I asked for.

 
At 7:18 AM, Blogger gabe said...

I am so incredibly envious right now...

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger Joe Gordon said...

Hurrah - a book shop the way book shops are supposed to be, crammed with as many books as it possibly can be. None of this chain store mentality of arranging things just so according to retail psychologist's notions. A book shop that looks like the kind of book shops where real readers go to happily explore the stacks and rumamge around, pause to leaf through books in musty corners and don't think about 3 for 3 offers of the week... Nice...

 
At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David--Glad you got to go there. I imagine you're right about Powell's. Can't wait to visit Powell's some day.

Yeah, Chamblin's SF antho collection is simply insane.

Gabe--hey. You should be!

Joe--Alas, it's a lot less like that now that they've got the annex, but it still has "book mine" feel to it.

Cheers,
JeffV

 
At 12:20 PM, Blogger Keith said...

I wish we had a decent book store in Savannah. All we have are the chains and two used book stores-- one sells nothing but cheep mass market romance novels, while the other occasionally has odd finds but everything is overpriced, to gouge the tourists.

 

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