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December 15, 2010



My favorite bookstore is Lowry's Books in downtown Three Rivers, MI.
Tom Lowry, the owner, converted four old storefronts into the most unique bookstore around.
Part of it use to be a jewerly store, another part was a drug store and another was a shoe store.
With over 250,000 New and Used books on the shelf, my wife and I always find something we want.
I'm down there so much that people think I work there and are always asking me where they can find something, and I'm more than glad to help them find it.
I've been going there for over 15 years and I'll probably go their until the day I die.


That shop sounds great if I am ever in Three Rivers I will have to pop in. It sounds a little bit like Russell Books, the used store that I love here. They've now spread out taking over the space of three other businesses as it became available. Somehow a proper used bookshop should feel a bit like a labyrinth.

william e emba

Baldwin's Book Barn, located two counties west of Philadelphia PA, is located, as the name indicates, in a converted barn. Five stories, all but the first floor extremely cramped (keep your head down!) and pretty much way out in the middle of nowhere.

About 10-15 years ago there was a generational change in ownership and the store apparently went way downhill. I have no idea if they recovered (I haven't been there in a long while) but they are still in the same location.


A reality check is in order here. A store stocking a large number of moderately priced books needs a lot of space relative to the amount of income it generates. The reason so many secondhand bookstores are found in odd buildings (old mills, churches, etc) is that the rent is low because businesses making a (relative) lot of money don't want those buildings. Booksellers take what they can get (building new premises is almost always out of the question).
Customers who claim to be charmed by labyrinthine layouts and dim lighting are, in my 30 years of experience, mainly the ones who buy a book once in a while, or at least fervently express their intention to do so sometime soon. The customers who actually come up to the counter with an armload of books a couple times a month generally have little to say about the shop and seem to prefer good lighting and simple layouts. The ideal shop would probably be similar to a small public library, minus reading areas.


Unfortunately, Bookstop (the Houston example) is no more. Public outcry has - temporarily at least - forestalled the gutting and Staples-conversion of the historic and GORGEOUS deco theatre. We'll see how long it lasts, though. The company that owns the property won awards in years back for their sympathetic historic treatment of that building... but they're less interested these days.


And, for Wayne: Bookstop's a Borders (or BN?) branch. Lasted for a good many years; wanted a bigger place, though. (Got one, too, a few blocks away.) So, it's not just secondhand bookstores that are in spiffy buildings. (But, a theatre can have bright lighting and non-labyrinthine-yet-still-interesting layouts. Old house, often more difficult.)

william filipkowski

I enjoyed walking through TRANS ALLEGHENY BOOKS in Parkersburg. WV.
It originally was a Carnegie library building.

Thomas Sabo

Secondhand bookstores are very hot these days, there're aslo many books there and the price is cheap.

franklin geothermal

I admired the people who made this good idea. Today, we only have few bookstores are offering cheap prises. I will visit those stores that you mentioned in here get buy some books.


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