Category Archives: Bookstore Travels

The Booklegger -Huntsville, AL

I found a fantastic used bookstore in Huntsville, AL while on a recent trip. My time at Booklegger Used Books (4001 Holmes Ave NW; Huntsville, Alabama 35816) was way too short. This small shop is worth visiting if you find yourself in the Rocket City.

As soon as you walk in, you can tell you have entered a book lover’s world. Most of the books I picked up were good-condition hardbacks and priced in the $5-$8 range. The shelves and bookcases all go 8-feet high and they are fully loaded. Even though they are stocked full, they are well tended to and organzied. It’s was fun to meander throughout the bookshelf-lined aisles.

Once you enter, the non-fiction is mostly in the room to your immediate left. Those topics run the gamut. It’s all there. If you’ve been in many bookstores then you know it’s a special thing when to find one with so many sub-categories clearly marked and stocked well.

But the non-fiction I was most interested in was straight ahead – “Books About Books”, plus shelves & shelves of Literary Critcism and Essays. It was amazing! I’ve found very few bookstores (new or used) that had essays like this, much less have them in hardback (plus, a whole other shelf over in the “paperback” room).

From the front door, fiction starts off to the right and runs on into the “paperback room” off to the right just past all of the new comics.

They must do a constant business at Booklegger Used Books. The phone was ringing throughout my visit and I bet a dozen folks were in and out during my all too short time there. All that to say, I think it’d be worth it to check the “Newly Arrived” wall (just inside the non-fiction room) every visit. One can tell that these shelves have yet to be picked through, but the turnover is quick.

After a quick conversation there it sounds like they only buy hardbacks for around $1 per book, depending on demand. They will buy paperback books but for store credit only and the do limit how many “Walmart bags” you can drop on his counter during a week. Which is a pretty great metric to use for a used bookstore.

My one complaint is the way they manage their $1 Discount Books. Every book available for $1 is marked with an marker across the top with an X or O or XO. I totally get why they do this. When you buy as many used-books from patrons as they do, it doesn’t work to keep buying the same books that don’t sell. Plus, it helps with inventory and so forth and so on. I get it. I really do. It’s just always better to have books without those permanent markings. But for $1 per book, they’ll never hear me complain. 😉

Days and times of operation change, so I’d recommend giving them a call as I can’t find a good online presence for them.

Little Professor Book Center – Photo Tour

The Little Professor Book Center has been a mainstay in Homewood, AL since the early 1970’s and has recently re-opened in its third location. It’s neat that all three locations have been on the same street.

They are located at:
2844 18th St. S., Homewood, AL   35209
Phone:   (205)870-7461

Their hours are:
Monday-Friday 9:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday 10:00am – 6:00pm

The new shop is a fun stop. The big front windows let in so much light, the covers near the windows really shine. No matter where you stand in the book store you can see to the other side and use all of the section signs posted on the pillars for navigation. The Little Professor is located smack dab in the middle of downtown Homewood now and their foot traffic must be 200x what it was.

Though there are no more used books and there is no more Crape Myrtle Cafe (home to one of the best pimento cheese sandwiches in the Birmingham-area) it’s worth checking out for the fully stocked shelves and cozy seating area.

And of course, the same smiling faces are there ready to chat all about books!

Below are a few photos I took of the new bookstore. You can also catch up with the Little Professor crew on Twitter, Facebook or over on their site.

 

Capitol Book & News is CLOSING

If you’re near Montgomery, AL, in the next couple of days, it would be worth your while to swing by Capitol Book & News as they are closing this month. For good.

This little indie bookstore is the last in Montgomery. It’s been in business for 65 years. I didn’t realize it has not always been in its current location in Old Cloverdale. But according to the Montgomery Advertiser is used to be owned by someone else and located downtown. Downtown shops are fun, but man Old Cloverdale is one of the more idyllic spots for an indie shop.

Capitol Book reminds me of some of the great little book shops over in Savannah, GA that are so fun to walk around and visit.

So take a peek at the Advertiser article. I echo the owners’ hopes that someone else will step in and open an indie bookshop in Montgomery. The city would be better for it.

Free eBook: Follow a Few Literary Pilgrimages

This month Simon Goldhill’s Freud’s Couch, Scott’s Buttocks, Brontë’s Grave is the University of Chicago Press’s free eBook offering. I have not read it yet, but the book is all about writers, their homes and travel. When I travel I always look up local literary points of interest and local indie bookshops to visit. They are so much more interesting and telling than the usual sight-seeing fare.

freudscouchGoldhill’s book not only points the way to where these literary locations are, but also digs a little deeper in trying to connect the dots between these places and the writers that were there. I scanned a bit of it and he seems intent to tackle questions like:

Why did author go there? What were they looking for? What will you find if you go there today? Some of the historical sites of note, listed in the book, are:

  • Sir Walter Scott’s mansion
  • Wordsworth’s cottage
  • the Brontë parsonage
  • Shakespeare’s birthplace
  • Freud’s office

So if literary pilgrimages and bookstore tourism are your thing, be sure to check out UCP’s free eBook this month. (There are a few caveats: they use Adobe DRM, so you’ll need an  approved eReader app for that and a kindle fire may be the only kindle device that can read these free ebooks. I haven’t confirmed that though.)